Systems Update

Posted: August 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 131 Comments »

We won’t have a full understanding of the Eagles offensive and defensive systems until January. At that point, the regular season will be over and we will have 16 games under our belt and plenty of statistics and other evidence to study. For now, we’re still guessing.

The offense is up-tempo. We know that for a fact. The Eagles lead the league in plays per game, with 75. They are 2nd in yards, at 435 per game. Houston is the leader (450) and the Saints are 3rd (way down at 396). The Eagles are only 11th in scoring, which is no surprise with Red Zone turnovers and some blown chances.

The offense stretches the field horizontally more than it does vertically. This has allowed WR screens to be an effective weapon. It also limits the number of defenders in the box. This has helped the run game. The Eagles are 3rd in the league in rushing (and 4th in attempts). The offense isn’t gimmicky. There aren’t a bunch of insane formations and crazy tricks. This is real simple football. Kelly gives the defense some looks and the offense responds by attacking what the defense doesn’t cover.

Chip lied when he said he wasn’t an option coach. The key here is that the QB has the option to do just about anything. On a given play, the QB can hand-off, run or pass. That allows him to adjust to the defense while the play is happening. Andy Reid frustrated fans because he was slow to adjust during the game. Kelly has his players adjusting on the fly. That’s like bringing the Wright Brothers back to life and throwing them in an F-16. Mind = blown.

There are still plenty of standard NFL passing plays. I’ve pointed out that corner routes to the TE were a favorite play of Andy Reid’s and they’ve been used on a regular basis this summer. There are still plenty of checkdowns to RBs.

Chip has actually been somewhat conservative on offense. That will change in September. No WR has run the ball yet. There have been no Wildcat looks. There have been no flea flickers. I don’t expect this stuff to be common, but it will be mixed in.

Many people wonder about TE James Casey and how little he’s been used. Casey is going to be a big part of the offense due to his versatility. His ability to be a TE, H-back, FB, slot and WR makes him a valuable chip for Chip. Kelly has played Zach Ertz a lot with the starters. My guess is that he’s trying to help Ertz catch up since he missed the spring. Kelly knows what Casey can do. Also, Casey is an X-factor for the offense so why not hide his role to a certain extent and let the opponents see him on Sept 9th.

I’m very impressed with the offense so far.

The defense has grown by leaps and bounds each week. It was a rudimentary 3-4 vs the Patriots. And the results were ugly. The players did a better job vs the Panthers. Last week we finally started to see the defense get creative. There were some exotic blitz looks. We saw some 4-3 Under. We saw the 3-3-5. They did creative things from the base 3-4, with slants and things like that.

We still don’t know exactly what Bill Davis will do in September. He’s used this summer to evaluate his players. He’s tried to find out who can and can’t do certain things. You have to put players in awkward positions at times. Who thought we’d ever see Trent Cole line up over a slot receiver?

It won’t surprise me to see Davis run a lot of 4-3 Under during the season. I think that scheme fits this set of players more than the true 3-4. There are talented 1-gap players. When you ask some of these guys to cover 2-gaps, the results are interesting. They have little experience at it so it is new from a technique standpoint. Some don’t have the skills for it. Some have it so ingrained in their history to attack gaps that it is second nature to fly up the field. Sitting back and reading the play feels completely foreign to them.

Vinny Curry has jumped off the screen to anyone who has watched the first 3 games. He is in the backfield constantly and is very disruptive. Yesterday Chip’s praise for Curry was very muted. Curry might not be executing his assignments, but rather falling back on his 1-gap instincts. Or maybe Chip is being quiet on Curry since he’ll be a key weapon in the season opener and Kelly wants that to be a secret. We just don’t know how he operates quite yet.

The defense may seem a little conservative right now, but that will change. Davis is trying to test his players, not his scheme. If he calls the perfect blitz and someone gets a sack, all that tells Davis is that the play works. He would rather call generic plays and see who is able to make things happen within the framework of the defense.

The 3-4 is a blitzing scheme. We’ll see that in full force this season. For now, there is limited blitzing and the stuff we do see is simple. The other day Mychal Kendricks ran a simple delay blitz. He just pauses at the snap and then fires upfield. Kendricks hit the QB because of his upfield burst. The play itself is basic football. You’ll see loops and stunts and zone blitzes next month that will allow the coaches to be very creative now that they know which players have the movement skills to execute them.

As for STs…Dave Fipp still is in the lead for Assistant Coach of the Year. Just keep doing a great job.

* * * * *

A few new readers have asked about why I refer to Jimmy Kempski as Jimmy Bama.

We first met down in Mobile, AL at the Senior Bowl. Jimmy was driving us home from practice one day and somehow we got lost. I think we were busy telling jokes and not paying attention. We end up somewhere we’ve never been. Jimmy then figures out where we were and finds the right street, as if he actually knew the neighborhood we were in. So I started joking about how Jimmy, who is from NJ, knew Alabama like the back of his hand. That led to Jimmy Bama and the name just stuck.


131 Comments on “Systems Update”

  1. 1 ICDogg said at 9:45 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yeah, especially with the defense I’ve been wondering if we even have seen anything resembling what they plan to do. I like two-gapping but only if you have the right guys to do it.

  2. 2 GEagle said at 11:26 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think we saw more of our true offense in the preseason(even if it was very conservative), then we saw our true defense.
    Davis wasn’t going to but all his disguise on film, or intricate blitz packages(which should be a big help to our players)…I think Tom hit a Homerun in this article about the defense

  3. 3 Anders said at 12:30 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I can we have seen so much two gapping because Davis knows the guys like Cox etc can 1 gap, but wanna see if they can 2 gap.

    We most likely see something that reminds of the 4-3 under/1 gap 3-4/5-2 that Wade Phillips loves

  4. 4 Tumtum said at 1:06 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    And you know what? If they really wanted to 2 gap why in the name of heck would they drop Mike P. and Cullen Jenkins? Two guys who can not only be good solid players in any style but two guys who have 2 gapped before.

  5. 5 Anders said at 1:11 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Money and fit. Jenkins is a good fit for 3-4 DE in a more 1 gapping role and Mike is a terrible fit in any 3-4

  6. 6 Neil said at 2:17 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    To add to this, Patterson lacked the size to play NT and the quickness to go up against an OT.

  7. 7 Tumtum said at 12:29 PM on August 29th, 2013:

    wouldnt he be against guards usually at 34 de?

  8. 8 Neil said at 5:16 PM on August 29th, 2013:

    Not usually. Between the 1gap and 2gap 3-4s, only the 1gap 3 technique consistently goes up against guards, and that role would be filled by Fletcher Cox or Vinny Curry. Heads up on the tackle in 2gap on a passing play with a guard trying to get wide enough to block him (because the tackle has an OLB with no help), you would still want someone faster than Patterson to make it a really tough assignment for the guard to get wide enough fast enough to block his assignment.

  9. 9 A Roy said at 1:14 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I agree with Anders. I prefer an agressive defensive line and a routine 2-gap defense is too complacent for my taste. Shoot a gap, force the RB & QB to make a wrong decision. Blow up a pulling Guard in the backfield. Guess I’m just longing for JJ to return.

  10. 10 Neil said at 2:08 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    JJ did a lot of 2gapping. This new scheme is way closer to what JJ did than the previous one.

  11. 11 ICDogg said at 2:26 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    JJ didn’t do any two gapping until he brought Pete Jenkins aboard. Jenkins liked to two gap, but he also had these fronts which were two gap on the right and one gap on the left.

    Good video of him explaining it here

  12. 12 Anders said at 2:38 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I also think the Eagles will have some “hybrid fronts” where maybe the SDE (Thornton) and/or the NT (depending on Sopoaga or Logan) 2 gap and then Cox/Curry 1 gap.

  13. 13 Neil said at 2:42 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    This I’m in agreement with. Also, I think there will be calls in the base alignment where everyone shoots up the field.

  14. 14 Anders said at 2:48 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    yea looking at Davis roots and the front 7 coaches. They have experience coaching all of it and the players are beginning to have experience is all of it.

  15. 15 Neil said at 2:41 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Holy crap, an hour? I’ll take your word on it for now, see if I can work that in some time.

  16. 16 ICDogg said at 2:49 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yeah, just the first few minutes he describes why he prefers two gapping.

  17. 17 Neil said at 3:40 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yep. But also in the first ten minutes his description of the ways the two styles affect what the offense does makes you see why Billy and Chip want guys who can do both. Great link.

  18. 18 P_P_K said at 10:15 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    If Jimmy can navigate the streets of Alabama, surely he can navigate an NFL backfield. Bama for starting safety!

  19. 19 Tom33 said at 10:20 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Tommy – gotta disagree with you a little bit. Based on the fairly weak schedule the Eagles play this year, we really won’t know about this team until after their playoff run and Super Bowl victory!

    Seriously – I can’t wait to see what they do when the games count. It will be interesting no matter what the results are this year.

  20. 20 DJH said at 10:40 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Tommy, always the optimist. I love it though.

    I was reflecting on preseason and indeed it is amazing how well, especially when Foles is under center, the Eagles run the up tempo, option system.

    This is probably due to Big Red already having the Birds moving at a fairly fast pace and Foles running spread in college.

    When Vick under center, the O has looked more WCO. Not sure if that means Vick is still learning/adjusting and/or Kelly coaching to Vick’s strengths.

    Still, if one views this year as a “rebuilding” year, signs are awfully encouraging.

    Here’s my “what to look for” over the next 3 years:

    1) Can Kelly win in the NFL?
    2) Can Kelly win Playoff games?
    3) Can Kelly win the Big One.

    I’m as guilty as the next Eagles fan, but really we just need to focus on 1) for now.

  21. 21 Adam said at 3:53 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Win the day, my friend. Win enough days and at that will allow us to accomplish #1, then #2, then #3.

  22. 22 mark2741 said at 10:47 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Not to go off-topic but…it hit me while watching the replay of this past game that I don’t believe the Eagles have been called for a single delay of game. Come to think of it, false starts and other stupid penalties are down too. Surprising, and welcome, considering it’s a new and frenzied system when compared to Reid’s.

  23. 23 GEagle said at 11:33 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    It’s been extremely Impressive how Discaplined they have been this early in the process…
    I think “Princess” Dunlap, and “Dumb ass” Demetress combined for more penalties in 1 game last year then our entire team has through 3 preseason games

  24. 24 austinfan said at 10:48 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think the offense we’ve seen with Foles is closer to what we’ll see when games start, with the added impact of Vick’s arm stretching the field when the defense cheats up. But I don’t think we’re gonna see Vick running nearly as much as most pundits expect, Chip knows it’s a 16 game season and it’s not as easy to plug in your 3rd QB in the NFL. The real key in preseason is getting everyone comfortable executing the offense and getting your 5 OL on the same page. Even without Maclin, they have plenty of talent at skill positions.

    It’s hard to judge Davis, he had limited talent in his first two stops (in both cases, after they fired him they took serious steps to upgrade their talent, which must have given Davis that warm fuzzy feeling), and is in the same situation again. The good news is there are few glaring weaknesses, the bad news is other than Cox and Kendricks, there are few game changers. Barwin looks like a great pickup, but he’s Spencer, not Ware, a solid SOLB who’ll be a great complimentary piece to an elite pass rushing WOLB. Wolff may grow into a solid safety in 2014, Thornton, Logan have size, athleticism and upside, Curry may become a valuable role player, Boykin is a solid nickel CB. But they need a serious talent infusion the next two years, especially 2-3 more blue chip types. Success in 2013 on defense means finishing the year around the league average in yards and points allowed.

  25. 25 GEagle said at 12:48 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yeah but if we see the offense Foles ran then it will be up to Vick whether he takes off or not. It’s not a strength of Foles so he isn’t going to take advantage of the keeper option as much as we could see from Vick. I just hope that if he decides to keep it, he gets out of bounds because I have given up all hope in ever seeing him slide….if the iconic Barak Obama and a real QB competition can’t get him to stop swan diving head first into the dirt, then noting will..the insane part is don’t let him BS us with the “I just can’t slide excuse” because he actualy did slide feet first at Lehigh 1 time to a big roar from the crowd after the president told him to slide…so if he could slide perfectly once, he can do it again, which makes his refusal to do so all the more maddening….

  26. 26 Jernst said at 3:30 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I see him as back up 3tech first and foremost in the 4-3U, back up 5tech in pass leaning downs when you still go 4-3U and not nickle and then a Darren Howard-esque inside pass rusher at DT in the nickel.

  27. 27 Alistair Middlemiss said at 4:01 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    On passing downs i see the eagles in a 4 man front with Cox at 1 tech and Curry at the 3 tech.

  28. 28 Jernst said at 6:20 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    could definitely see this as a possibility

  29. 29 goeagles55 said at 4:30 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    If the read-option is run correctly, it’s not really Vick’s decision whether he keeps it or hands it off; it’s the backside DE/OLB’s. As long as Vick is making the right reads, the backside defender should be defending the QB run and Vick should hand it off 80% of the time.

  30. 30 austinfan said at 10:57 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    This is probably worthy of a column, but there’s been a lot made of the fact that Chip has final say on the 53.

    What is missed is personalities. Modrak wanted to be a true GM, and that conflicted with Andy’s desire for control. Banner went from negotiating salary to wanting to run the team, and again, that ran into Andy. Heckert was a true “football guy” who also wanted to be a true GM.

    Howie has a lawyer’s mindset, Chip is his client, and he seems more interested in finding out what his client needs than dictating to Chip what he’s gonna get. This is why you constantly hear about collaboration, communication, etc., and that predates Chip coming to town. It’s not that Howie isn’t ambitious, but his style seems to be more “corporate,” working as a team and you get ahead when the team gets ahead. And this means on personnel that Howie and his people strive to be on the same page as Chip and his people. That doesn’t mean there aren’t disagreements, but more stress on understanding the reason for differing judgements than defending your turf.

    This may be an optimistic reading, but contrast the last two drafts and this year’s FA crop with the previous few years and you see far more focus on talent than need, and team fit (with Chip on board). I think Howie’s power lies in framing the choices for Chip, forcing him to confront tradeoffs in resources (cap room, available draft picks, roster space) rather than dictate results. And Howie controls the flow of information to Chip. So instead of Howie v Chip, it’s more a question of how Howie works with Chip, and how he influences Chip’s “final decisions.”

  31. 31 Tom33 said at 11:32 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I agree with what you have said here. As in the corporate world, this usually works well in the beginning, but whether or not it is sustainable is really dependent on the individuals. If you look at their careers, Chip and Howie both seem to be guys who were always striving for the next big job. Whether or not they will be happy sharing power over the longer term will be thing to watch. As you said, Andy and Banner worked well together for the first few years – it just fell apart after they had a taste of success.

  32. 32 GEagle said at 11:41 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    seems to me like their desire to bring a Super Bowl to Philly is more important then their ego’s….why would they even worry about Ego’s when they know that if they are the men that Finally deliver this city a SB, they will be immortalized as Gods forever….What I like about Chip, and Howie is there desire to win dwarfs their ego….Howie finally claimed the throne, and immediately proved that he isn’t an Ego Maniac by hiring strong NFL personel people like Gamble. he was not afraid to seek out help after winning the Iron Throne(Eagles GM position lol)

  33. 33 BobSmith77 said at 2:18 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    You think it was Howie’s decision alone to bring in Gamble? Highly doubt it.

  34. 34 GEagle said at 2:58 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Uhhh actually yes I do think it was Howies idea

  35. 35 Adam said at 3:55 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I don’t agree. I think Howie understands his limitations as a football evaluator and brought in someone to help him.

  36. 36 ICDogg said at 2:54 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yep. It turns out that some people are actually capable of working together without having a pissing contest over who controls what.

  37. 37 Jernst said at 3:32 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Could not have said it better myself. Perfect Post!

  38. 38 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 10:58 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    The overrall theme of the defense is keep the play in front of you. Other than a couple of.blown assignments, teams had to march all the way to get points, which is what the defense is designed for. the breakdowns should get fixed, the scheme might give up some yards, but should be fairly effective in terms of points.

  39. 39 DJH said at 11:08 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    With the 34 and potentially explosive D-line it’s also looking like a theme will be disruption. Disruptions lead to offensive mistakes and turnovers.

    Probably to much guessing here but defensive theme right now looks like classic bend-don’t-break-force-a-bad-throw-get-interception-/-turnover.

  40. 40 OregonDucker said at 11:33 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yep, that’s a Chip defense.

  41. 41 GEagle said at 11:38 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    People think I’m nuts for being excited about this defense lol

  42. 42 Mac said at 12:23 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I was excited seeing a defense that could get off the field on third down.

  43. 43 ACViking said at 12:57 PM on August 28th, 2013:


  44. 44 GEagle said at 12:59 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’ve been wrong before…and like every other time I’m wrong. I won’t duck my head in the sand like an Ostridge..I will be back, front and center to face the music and admit my mistake, no worries….but I like its potential unless they are he’ll bent on being a predominantly 2gap 3-4 all year, in which case my excitement would temper down significantly

  45. 45 ACViking said at 1:10 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’m hoping for an autograph!

    Seriously, GEagle, it was a response I couldn’t resist.

    I enjoy your comments. And your directness.

  46. 46 GEagle said at 1:15 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    It’s all good…you are always respectful and bring a ton to the table so you have a lot of equity build up with me to take shots lol Go birds

  47. 47 ICDogg said at 1:46 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    It’s funny, ever since someone made the Joe Pesci comment the other day, every time I read your posts I think of them in his voice.

  48. 48 ICDogg said at 1:45 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Sounds like a Marion Campbell defense

  49. 49 DJH said at 2:03 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Haha, yeah, but it would be silly to expect this defense to be a “shutdown” defense. And to play like it is would be disasterous. And really, even great defenses won’t shutdown great offenses.

    So bend-don’t-break-hope-for-turnovers is what we may live with for a year or two.

  50. 50 ICDogg said at 2:08 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    That was a pretty good defense in the Vermeil years. Old school 3-4.

  51. 51 GEagle said at 11:21 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Tom. I really enjoyed this article. Nice stuff man.
    Just yesterday on my drive home from work they were talking about Casey underwhelming preseason on the radio and I wanted to call in and make the same exact point as you, about him being kept quiet for the season because he will have a big role in this offense, but I was lazy and didn’t feel like sitting on hold..

    I’m dying to find out about this defense which I see as promising in September

  52. 52 holeplug said at 9:28 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think one of the things Chip will use Casey for is to combat the scrape exchange teams are gonna use against us this year.

  53. 53 GermanEagle said at 11:22 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Cannot wait until MK lays the wood on RGIII & out!

  54. 54 GEagle said at 11:29 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I often dream about Mykal, Cox, or Curry going “Boots to Asses” on RG3!!…

    But what we end up doing to Romo and that pathetic Oline will be a thing of Beauty……sort of a “Ballet of Violence” if you will!!

    I’m telling you boys this will be a fun group of defenders once they settle in and Gel(as long as you remember where we were last year and understand that there will be growing pains)…

  55. 55 ICDogg said at 2:07 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I still have a picture in my mind from, I think, 2010, when the Skins knocked Vick out of the game with brutal hits from two directions making a sandwich out of him.

  56. 56 GEagle said at 3:03 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yes, we owe them a beating for sure..or as Pesci would say “Crack some friggin skulls ” 🙂

  57. 57 Mark Saltveit said at 11:23 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Interesting about the slants on the DL. Lots of talk about how Jacksonville ran those on us. Maybe you should write an article about what exactly that is?

  58. 58 barneygoogle said at 11:33 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Good article. Right on the mark.
    Tommy, can you do an article on what has happened at other training camps? What 1st/2nd round rookies seem to be busts–who has been better than expected? Free agent sleepers? Not much written anywhere I can find.

  59. 59 ICDogg said at 2:02 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    This is the season of optimism… no one is a bust yet.

  60. 60 Adam said at 3:59 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I did a quick write up on the Lane Johnson pick and how he’s stacked up so far against other guys the Eagles were linked to.

    Sorry Tommy, hopefully not stepping on any toes when I’m posting this but it’s not a shameless plug I promise 🙂

  61. 61 OregonDucker said at 11:41 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’m not sure this has been addressed so here goes. Chip’s overall strategy is to score frequently, force turnovers, and delay the scoring of the opposing team. If he is effective, then the other team must take chances to increase scoring frequency and stop Chip’s offense. As a result, things can turn very bad for the opponent if mistakes are made. A blitz pickup can lead to a touchdown. A hail mary type pass leads to an interception and touchdown. Panic starts to seep in.

    By the second half, if Chip is effective, players on the other team start to get demoralized. After a 22pt lead, Chip brings in the 2s and 3s and they gain very valuable game experience – and they score and cause turnovers also. By the 4th game in the season, you have very experienced 2s and 3s on offense and defense – this results in a juggernaut of a team.

  62. 62 GermanEagle said at 11:59 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I love your optimism, but I am not sure if we see Chip bringing any 2nd or 3rd stringers in a regular season game…

  63. 63 ICDogg said at 2:00 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Sure they will.

  64. 64 GermanEagle said at 2:14 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    You mean when the Eagles trail by 30 points in the 4th quarter or if they start the season 1-7?! 😉

  65. 65 ICDogg said at 2:33 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    If they’re going to run the offense as fast as some say, one or two of those guys will need a breather once in a while.

  66. 66 GermanEagle said at 2:51 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I got ya. I will be a very happy boy should the Eagles be up by 3+ TD’s in one game.

  67. 67 Andy124 said at 12:12 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Re. 2nd paragraph:
    This is an area where I think NFL Chip is likely to look somewhat different from College Chip.

    1st we need to clarify that by “bring in the 2s and 3s” we’re talking about the backups who are not in the usual rotation. The 2s and 3s at RB, DL, TE and WR will probably see significant action regardless of the score.

    That being said, 22 point leads are a lot harder to come by in the NFL than in college, and (I think) a little harder to protect. I would guess that these extreme depth building opportunities will not play out the same way they did at Oregon.

    At the same time, I would not be at all suprised to see Chip look to accomplish the same goal via other means. Subbing in 1 or 2 guys instead of a mass substitution for example. The fact that PSU stands to benefit greatly from BO’B’s rotating OL during the season last year serves as a real world example.

  68. 68 ACViking said at 12:53 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    OD wrote:
    ” Chip’s overall strategy is to score frequently, force turnovers, and delay the scoring of the opposing team. If he is effective, then the other team must take chances to increase scoring frequency and stop Chip’s offense.”

    That sounds exactly like Andy Reid’s explanation — since 2000 — for why he threw the ball so much in the first half, especially.

    Reid’s approach worked great while he had Jim Johnson coaching a defense with Dawkins, Trotter, Vincent, Taylor, Shel Brown, et al.

    I’m not so sure that Kelly’s philosophy differs substantially from Reid, or even Belicheck.

  69. 69 OregonDucker said at 2:47 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Chip’s closer to Belicheck. Although, Chip favors the run more and probably isolates LBs better. He really is far from Reid in offense and defense strategy, perhaps I did not articulate my observations well.

    BTW, love your contributions ACViking to this blog. I have learned a ton from your posts.

  70. 70 ACViking said at 3:23 PM on August 28th, 2013:


    The thought is mutual. You’ve been a fine and welcomed speaker here.

  71. 71 Anders said at 2:50 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    and dont forgot Westbrook and McNabb almost never turned the ball over. That was really the downfall of this team.

  72. 72 BlindChow said at 11:41 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I wonder how much focus is spent on turnovers in practice. It sure hasn’t shown up in the preseason games (only 1 so far). If he’s counting on defensive turnovers this year, Chip is probably going to be disappointed…

  73. 73 89tremaine said at 12:00 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Hey Tommy – this is unrelated to the post but related to the JAX game so maybe you can address it in the DGR – Offence. Can you explain the rationale behind the touchback rule when the offence fumbles the ball through the endzone? It has always bugged me because the D doesn’t have to recover the ball and yet they not only get possession, but the ball is moved to the 20. If it happened in the middle of the field, the O would retain possession at either the spot of the fumble or where the ball went out of bounds.
    To be clear, I understand what the rule is, but I do not know or understand the reasoning behind it. I know it happens so rarely in games, but it seems like the fumbling team really gets punished.

  74. 74 Neil said at 12:13 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    It might be designed to compensate for how little the fumbling team’s punished when the ball goes out of bounds elsewhere.

  75. 75 Jernst said at 4:09 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Always wondered the same thing myself. My rationale has always been that players will sell out near the pylon with the ball extended and try to get a cheap TD when they’re clearly going to be tackled short, but only need the very tip of the ball to cross the plane. This practice of extending the ball leads to more fumbles, however, if you could just fumble the ball out of bounds near the pylon, there would be no incentive to protect the ball in that instance and you’d have players constantly running to the corner and selling out with the ball outstretched getting cheap TDs rather than protecting the ball.

    A better alternative, I think, would be for the fumbling team to retain possession, but the ball is moved back to the 20 yard line.

  76. 76 CTAZPA said at 5:19 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    The problem is down and distance, if the fumbling team retains possession but goes out to the 20. Do you add a down? 2nd and goal from the six becomes 3rd and goal from the 20. Or is it 3rd and 10 now?

    You can’t make it first and ten because teams would run out the clock by fumbling out of the end zone. It sets up some weird stuff.

    Bottom line is it sucks when it happens to your team, is great when it goes in your favor and everyone has the same rule.

  77. 77 Jernst said at 6:27 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    True…there isn’t a really clean answer to the question. Perhaps just treat it like a 15 yard penalty. It just seems unfair that if you lose control of the ball at the 1 inch line and the other team doesn’t even recover the ball, you still lose all points or chance at points from the drive, the other team gets the ball AND gets the ball on the 20 yard line. I guess the best fix is to just not fumble the ball at the goal line.

  78. 78 GEagle said at 12:04 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yesterday our reporters were asking players “name a player that has stuck out to you this summer who you expect to have a big year?”:
    Wolff answered: Patrick Chung. He loves the way Chunger plays the game and expects a big year out of him
    Coleman: “Trent and graham, they have had one of the Hardest transitions out of anyone, but the greatest thing they do is when they are able to rush, they are Phenomenal pass rushers and it gives them more angles from the depth they come from the OLB position. It’s so new for them to be in pass coverage and they have done a great job transitioning and really understand their fits as far as when they are dropping, but when they come on a rush it’s deadly and I’ve seen it show up a lot of time on film, they are there!!! And they are ready to get some sacks and create some Havoc so I’m excited for those two to show up and really have a big season”
    Trent Cole: He has a policy of not commenting on other players. tells young guys worry about yourself and not othe players and you will be better off. Sucks cause I woulda loved to hear his answer.

    Tom: What’s your expectation of the RBs for Thursday nights game? Are we to expect Polk/brown in the first half and Tucker second half, or do you see one of them not playing much?

  79. 79 NoDecaf said at 12:09 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    GG Tommy!

  80. 80 GEagle said at 12:35 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I am blown away at home much of pro Foles has turned into in 1 offseason. This is an impressive young man and I cant wait to see who he becomes in his 3r and 4th year..Really looking forward to tomorrows heavy dose of Foles and Barkley

  81. 81 P_P_K said at 7:39 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m good with Vick at the helm this year but I’m betting Foles is our future.

  82. 82 ACViking said at 12:47 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Re: Stopping the Offense


    I watched the 2012 Stanford v. Oregon game — just the Ducks’ offensive plays.

    [Here’s the link for anyone who’s interested:

    The Stanford defense did a few things, to my eye at least.

    It seems like there were 6 men in the box on just about every play (except 3rd and long). Stanford was willing to give Oregon the WR screen, apparently.

    Stanford changed its D-front quite a bit — lining up in a convention 3-4, an under 3-4, covering the guards and centers, going Wide 9. Lots of variety.

    Third, the Cardinal MLB was lined up unusually deep, maybe 5-6 yards off the line . . . to give him more space to read and react, I guess.

    Oregon ended up throwing the ball quite a bit as a result. About 50-50 run-to-pass, as compared to the Ducks’ overall season ratio of about 65-35.

    Not sure that what Stanford did tells us anything. But it’s a great performance by the Stanford defense.

    (I know the year before Oregon pounded the Cardinal. But I have to believe Stanford made some schematic changes during the off-season.)

  83. 83 Anders said at 1:10 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Thing of note, one reason Standford won, was they beat their blocker, kept there assignment and had good eye discipline.

  84. 84 OregonDucker said at 4:52 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    This was a BIG reason. Also, I think the Stanford D was #1 in the country – they had tons of talent.

  85. 85 BlindChow said at 11:35 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’m guessing Alabama was #1.

  86. 86 Mark Saltveit said at 3:54 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    Stanford was #1 against the run, which was 2/3rds of Oregon’s offense. Before that game, Stanford’s opponents were averaging 54 yards per game. Oregon got 198, nearly 4 times Stanford’s average allowed, but only 60% of the Ducks’ 352 yard (!) rushing average.

  87. 87 holeplug said at 4:42 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Their run/pass ratio is also skewed alittle since Oregon blew out just about everyone they played. Last year when up by 2 TDs they ran on 72% of plays but within 2 TDs that dropped to 58%. Last year Seattle,Wash,S.F. (surprise surprise the 3 option teams) were the only teams to run on over 50% of their plays. I imagine the Eagles will join them this year.

  88. 88 GEagle said at 1:12 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    What benefits would playing a 3-4 2gap instead of a 4-3U have on our players?
    sure a two gap 3-4 protects Kendrick, but so does a 4-3U.
    I understand that it is more unpredictable than a 4-3U because the WOLB isnt just attacking 90% of the time.

    I don’t really see how two gapping Benefits Cox,Curry,Thorton
    And Barwins role would pretty much be the same in either defense

    So someone please explain to me, how 2gap 3-4 benefits us so much, that its worth keeping Cox,Curry,Thorton on a leash instead of letting them explode off the line and disrupt the backfield, while also exposing Graham and Cole in coverage? What would be the benefit to us playing a 3-4? Let our boys Hunt!!

  89. 89 Anders said at 1:34 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Good break down on what the two different 3-4 schemes offer (the Wade Phillips 3-4 is the same as the 3-4 under)

    also very good read on the tampa 2 by Kiffin and the 4-3 under (a variation of that)

  90. 90 GEagle said at 1:45 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Very much appreciate this…Really enjoy defensive scheme articles. Thank you

  91. 91 Anders said at 1:47 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    should read the whole thing then. Great break downs.

  92. 92 ICDogg said at 1:50 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Jene Bramel, who wrote the NFL defense guide you link to, is also a physician and writes an NFL injury blog, though he hasn’t updated it much recently. Was more stuff in it approaching the draft, including a piece on Barkley’s medical condition at the time.

  93. 93 GEagle said at 3:04 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Oh believe me, I will!!!

  94. 94 Mark Saltveit said at 3:56 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    Got anything on slant defenses, which seem to be the topic of the moment?

  95. 95 GEagle said at 7:05 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    Isn’t that how Stanford beat Oregon last year?..
    I think kapadia wrote something abut the slant dl the day or two after the jags game

  96. 96 ICDogg said at 1:57 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think you’ll get a mix of different fronts.

  97. 97 GEagle said at 4:29 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I agree, but predominantly my guess would be 4-3u and then 4-2-5 on Nickle, but I’m sure they won’t be the only schemes we see over the course of a game

  98. 98 GermanEagle said at 1:29 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    noooo, jaguars have signed will blackmon… 🙁

  99. 99 GEagle said at 1:46 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    what did you expect? Gus is ready to pluck every cast off they let loose

  100. 100 GermanEagle said at 2:13 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    True. I hope the Eagles will sign at least one defensive back to add to their final roster.

  101. 101 GEagle said at 7:06 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    Hear that he mite not remain a jag for too long

  102. 102 GermanEagle said at 8:19 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    Who told you this. The Gus bus? 😉

  103. 103 GEagle said at 11:16 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    🙂 I think Rotoworld…..I really only use Rotoworld for my national news, and PFT for NFL gossip….other then that, I haven’t paid much attention to the rest of the league yet

  104. 104 BlindChow said at 11:32 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Hey, kind of like the Browns, with Eagles’ castoffs!

  105. 105 BlindChow said at 11:31 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    They wanted some Blackmon on Blackmon crime in practice.

  106. 106 whackyplague said at 2:12 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Who would you expect to be the primary wildcat “QB”, if/when the wildcat is used? I know Casey did some of that in college, and he’s a former baseball player with a pretty good arm.

  107. 107 Andy124 said at 2:22 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Sopoaga. Definitely Sopoaga.

  108. 108 Anders said at 2:40 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    its not the wildcat if the player can throw the ball. I think Tebow is the perfect wildcat RB because he cant really throw the ball, but he is a dam good RB.

  109. 109 westy36 said at 4:13 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I don’t know what you guys are talking about. We’re always in the Wildcat as long as Vick is in the game. For some reason the coaches just like to throw from it.

  110. 110 GEagle said at 7:08 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    Andy for some reason I imagined your post in a Dustin Hoffman “rain man” voice….soap, definitely soap”

  111. 111 Vik said at 2:25 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Tommy, reading this makes me feel like we are a year away from the Lombardi. Your articles always make days seem brighter than they are! Thanks once again

  112. 112 GermanEagle said at 2:54 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    So with QB Matt Simms starting for the Jets on Thursday we can expect at least 4 picks, 2 Sacks and 17 PBUs from Nate Allen, can’t we?!

  113. 113 ICDogg said at 2:56 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I predict Kurt Coleman will get an interception.

    While playing corner.

  114. 114 Andy124 said at 3:01 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    A source very close to the situation informs me that Kurt Coleman makes plays.

  115. 115 Anders said at 3:02 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    The 2nd team D really need to create a lot of turnovers. The 2nd team Jets O is terrible (no OL, no WR, no TE, no QB, not even sure it qualifies as an offense)

  116. 116 GEagle said at 4:33 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Man this sucks…I wanted to beat up on Geno

  117. 117 JoeD said at 3:43 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Really…. I thought it was from South Park… When South Parks crapped all over news stations the character Jimmy called himself Jimmy Bama while being a news reporter…

  118. 118 goeagles55 said at 7:18 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Jimmy from South Park calls himself Jimmy Valmer, his full name.

  119. 119 ACViking said at 4:31 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    ICDOGG . . . .

    You mentioned the Vermeil Eagles’ 3-4 under DC Marion Campbell.

    Vermeil had big (for the time) DEs in Hairston and Big Foot Harrison — especially Harrison.

    The NT was perfectly sized (for the time) in the stout, strong, and also quick Charlie Johnson.

    BUT, in my view, the most important player to that defense was MLB Bill Bergey — who was nearly as big as the NT. He was huge, fast, tremendously instinctual, and mean as hell.

    (Lemaster was pretty good, too, but after Bergey’s injury in ’79, he was exposed a bit.)

    Next most important player was OLB Jerry Robinson — who gave those Eagles the kind of athleticism and speed on defense they hadn’t had since the days of Maxie Baughn.

    Anyway, you’re sure right that those defenses — from ’77-’81 — under Campbell were excellent. And they were not a bend-but-don’t-break group, either.

    Campbell was an example, just like Jim Johnson, how much difference a great D-coordinator can make if he has just a couple very good and one great player (in the right spots).

    Also, great to see Claude Humphrey finally get an HOF nomination. The man dominated the NFL for a decade after landing in Atlanta. And at 36, he was racking up 12+ sacks for the Eagles, too.

  120. 120 ICDogg said at 6:01 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    By the way, I don’t think many people remember how bad the Eagles were before Vermeil. But if anyone wants to see the Eagles near their worst, vs the Bengals in 1975, I found this:

  121. 121 P_P_K said at 7:33 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Ah, the bad old days, when the Eagles only won 4 games in a season. Not like last year…

  122. 122 ICDogg said at 10:52 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Yeah, but they had year after year of that stuff. Hopefully we won’t.

  123. 123 Bradley Abraham said at 4:43 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    “That’s like bringing the Wright Brothers back to life and throwing them in an F-16. Mind = blown.”

    Aaahahaha! Good one! 😀 :lmao

  124. 124 BlindChow said at 11:28 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I have to admit that analogy, uh, flew right over my head. Who do the Wrights represent here, exactly?

  125. 125 Cafone said at 5:26 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    If Danny Watkins makes the team, how should we read that in terms of Chip Kelly’s power over the roster and/or his decision making process? Is he really the best sub available for a roster position? If he was a 7th round pick or a UDFA would he still even be on the team after the first cut the other day?

  126. 126 phillychuck said at 5:31 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    He’s actually played well this preseason, especially in run blocking.

  127. 127 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:39 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    are you saying that Chip Kelly would cut Watkins and it is only Howie Roseman / others in the FO that are forcing Kelly to keep Watkins on the roster???

  128. 128 Cafone said at 9:32 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    no, I’m just asking the question, “we report, you decide” style.

  129. 129 A_T_G said at 9:24 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    If he had been a 7th round pick I think he would be viewed in the same light as Bryce Brown, an inexperienced player with physical tools that are intriguing, but who’s learning process caused us all to wince more than we would have liked

    He is ours now and the pick is gone. He shouldn’t have to wear the misused pick as an albatross around his neck.

  130. 130 RC5000 said at 6:00 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Tommy I thought you may find this article interesting about Hernandez, there is a lot of big stuff in the article but also a lot in relation to what was known about him before the draft. Off topic and this is an article that uses “sources” but it is an interesting read from many angles. Not to minimize all of the bigger aspects of this story but I wondered what Tommy and others think about this in relation to the draft. The article goes on with much more about the Patriots and the security background etc. I’ve posted a portion.

    n April 2010, a few months before the NFL draft, Hernandez sat down and composed a letter, or had his agent at Athletes First do so for him. (The firm is a top-tier NFL shop, repping Ray Lewis, Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, among others.) It was a Hail Mary pass to 32 teams, asking them to spike their bad reports and pick a dope-smoking, hair-trigger hothead. “My coaches have told you that nobody worked harder than me,” he wrote. “The only X-factor is concerns about my use of recreational drugs. To address that, I am putting my money where my mouth is” by offering to take eight drug tests during the season, and to return a portion of his paycheck if found dirty. This was both delusional and an empty vow: The players’ union would block even one extra test and any attempt to pay back guaranteed money. After seeing his pre-draft psychological report, where he received the lowest possible score, one out of 10, in the category of “social maturity” and which also noted that he enjoyed “living on the edge of acceptable

    behavior,” a handful of teams pulled him off their boards, and 25 others let him sink like a stone on draft day, April 24th. Only one team took the bait, burning a midround pick on a guy with “character issues”: the stoop-to-conquer Patriots of Bill Belichick.

    Read more:

  131. 131 RC5000 said at 6:22 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    Borges who contributed to it supposedly doesn’t have a great rep and there is some opinion and conjecture but I still think it has some interesting things in it. Patriots fans are offended by it thinking it blames the Patriots and excuses Hernandez but I didn’t really think so if you filter it