Posted: August 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 37 Comments »

Football teams get better as young players develop. Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith were huge factors in the Niners reaching the Super Bowl. JJ Watt had a phenomenal season and the Houston Texans had the best season in franchise history.

The 2012 Eagles didn’t have young players making the same impact. Guys like Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Curtis Marsh, Casey Matthews, and Brian Rolle either flat-lined or even went backward.

Jason Kelce got hurt.

Players like Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jamar Chaney and Clay Harbor continued to be erratic.

There were some young guys who played well. Cedric Thornton had a solid year. Riley Cooper played his best football. Brandon Graham emerged as a good pass rusher.

The rookie class showed promise. Fletcher Cox proved to be the real deal. Bryce Brown was terrific at times. Mychal Kendricks showed outstanding potential. Brandon Boykin played well in the slot. Dennis Kelly became an effective RT by the end of the year. Damaris Johnson showed promise as a WR and PR. And Nick Foles proved to be either a star QB who will lead the team to multiple Super Bowls or a solid backup. We’re still trying to figure that part out.

The 2010 and 2011 drafts failed to deliver any impact players. The 2012 and 2013 drafts offer a lot more hope. We need to see the 2013 class in action to get a feel for them.

Hugely important is what kind of progress the 2012 players can make from Year 1 to Year 2. I covered that topic in this week’s column. If Cox can go from good rookie to Pro Bowl type player, that will be huge for the defense. Boykin is having a great camp. What if he can become an impact type of player? That would be huge for the secondary. Obviously Foles could have the biggest impact if he becomes the starting QB and can play well.

If the new coaching staff can get some impact from the 2010 and 2011 classes as well, that will go a long way to the Eagles having a better year than most people expect.

* * * * *

Jimmy and I recorded a couple of shows on Saturday.

Here is #1, us talking about the offense and Training Camp.

* * * * *

Practice is just about to get started. Good news. WR Arrelious Benn will practice today.


37 Comments on “Young’uns”

  1. 1 GEagle said at 1:56 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Best part about a young roster, is if they have good work ethic, passion, desire to be great and you put them in the hands of good coaches….They Improve!!
    Because our roster is so young both in terms of age, and players with only a few years of playing experience, it’s really difficult to say how good or bad we will be…It gets even muddier, when you are changing schemes, and when the film you have of your young players is of them in a dysfunctional environment…Billy Davis practically had to catch himself from Blasting last years coaches, he started talking about what a bad position his defenders were placed in last year and then he caught himself mid sentence..

    I’m pleased with the meat and potatoes of this team. Now we need to for a few of our young draft picks to take that next step and become game changers

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 2:21 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    You need young talent for them to be able to improve. Team didn’t do a good enough job in some older drafts and the Eagles are feeling that right now.

  3. 3 GEagle said at 2:42 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    how Often is a player without real NFL talent drafted in the first few rounds? mike Kafka? jaqwain Jarrett?..Typically draft picks don’t bust because of a lack of Talent, they bust because lack of intangibles(the mental side, work ethic, adaptability)….I’m confident in the Talent of these last two draft classes, and that’s a pretty good start. Maybe we don’t have 5 young probowlers in the making already Julie talent pool, but the Talent is certainy there to build a good foundation…Talent is Rarely the issue!!! it’s the alizarin of a young players talent that is the question!!!

  4. 4 eagleyankfan said at 4:27 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Isn’t that what happened? Lots of peeps were fired

  5. 5 GEagle said at 5:01 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    NO, actually the decision makers of the past two drafts are all still here!

  6. 6 GvilleEagleFan said at 8:07 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    It may be revisionist history, but most of the post-mortems I’ve seen since Reid’s firing have singled out the 2010 and 2011 drafts as examples of Reid breaking from the decision making of the prior 11 years in an attempt to finally “get over the hump.” I have to think that’s the reasoning behind the reaches for players who were considered lower on the talent scale but hopefully more game-ready. Obviously that didn’t work out.

    While we have yet to see the 2013 class on the field, it was relatively well-received across the draftnik community in terms of grabbing players that seemed both talented and scheme versatile at places in the draft where they were good value as well. I think Howie did a fine job with the past two drafts, and certainly enough heads have rolled to put him on notice ( don’t forget Banner was a key decision maker as well).

  7. 7 GEagle said at 8:12 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Yeah, I agree. it was horrible drafting, but you almost have to give it a pass because they really where trying to get over the hump…and while they proved that there are no short cuts, I can’t really blame them for it…I wanted DRC, I wanted NNamdi. I was hype about It’s hard for me to really bash them for it..Then again, I had no faith in some guys like Jarrett(total head scratcher at the time), although allegedly the Jets are happy with him

    But you are absolutely right that Ried deviated from his norm, so you kind of have to look at those two drafts separate from the rest of the body of work

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 8:15 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    G, Can’t make the assumption that since players had the talent to get picked high, that talent will translate to the NFL. Isn’t just a question of working hard and being focused.

    I was a great math student when I was really young. I could add, subtract and multiply like nobody’s business. Teacher pulled me aside at one point because I was so advanced and introduced me to long division. Holy crap. I had no clue what she was talking about. It took me forever to figure that out.

    Point is that when you go to the next level in an endeavor, everything changes. Can’t assume something that performed well previously will do that again. That’s one of the reasons the NFL has so many draftees that don’t pan out. Money, character and effort are huge factors, but some guys just can’t make the transition because their college talent doesn’t work in the pros.

  9. 9 GEagle said at 10:20 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    thats exactly why not every college player gets drafted. Im sorry, but IMO every single 1st round draft pick ever drafted has NFL talent. A guy like Aaron Curry didnt bust because they misevaluate his NFL talent…He was a bust because he didnt put it all together and develope that talent properly(mental, work ethic, injury, passion)…
    In todays world every prospect is scrutinized to the fullest and I think its rare that you get drafted in the 1st 3 rounds and not have legit NFL talent….what you then do with that talent, in the situation that you are placed is what determines how much success or failure your pro career is…

    Even developmental prospects typically have the Talent… Of course how much talent varies between players(Casey Mathews doesnt have as much Talent as Kendricks), but there is too much parity in this league, the margin of error between winning is losing is just too small for me to buy that there is this drastic difference in Talent level between 1 team to the next and that we might not currently have enough…..

    .If it was about Talent, then we would hardly ever see 7th round picks becoming better players then 1st round picks(unless its a special 7th round pic who had talent but too many red flags)…If Talent Won games, there wouldnt be a “wastes of Talent”…A high draft pick, put in a good position by his coaches, who is smart enough to play in the NFL and puts in the right work…Those players dont typically fail…………Vick has all the Talent in the world, why isnt he a Hall of Famer?…

    Take last year for example…til this day you wont find anyone who will say the Eagles were a 4-12 team last year in terms of Talent(going into the season before everyone got hurt)….Did our Dream team lack talent?

  10. 10 phillychuck said at 10:54 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Bad teacher. If you understood multiplication, a good explanation of division would have appeared obvious to you.

  11. 11 planetx1971 said at 11:11 AM on August 5th, 2013:

    That might just gave been the coolest sports analogy of all time ! I mean, elementary school math. Long divisioin. college & pro ball? ESPY worthy. Incidentally, that may resonate with me so well personally because I was a bath superstar. Then came Algebra & it was like my teacher looked down at his syllabus & saw it was time to implement the language of Klingon into his lessons.

  12. 12 Neil said at 2:08 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Kinda offtopic, but is it ever? When Washburn was coaching at Tennessee, did they do what Juan did with the safeties to be sound against the run or something else? If no one knows, I might see if I can dig up a game.

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 2:26 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    I’m sure they did. Wide-9 leaves holes up front. Difference is that they had Safeties who were very good run defenders. TEN was Top 10 with Chris Hope and Michael Griffin in 2008. Both over 200 pounds. Both physical players.

    Go back to 2003. Good D. Safeties were Tank Williams (223 lbs) and Lance Schulters (202 lbs). Both good hitters/tacklers.

  14. 14 Neil said at 2:46 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Great information, thanks.

  15. 15 barneygoogle said at 4:29 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    I believe the eagles have 4th pick on the waiver wire–their highest in many years. When teams cut down to 53, they will have a crack at some good young players. I think we will see a few new and surprising faces.

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 8:05 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    This will be a huge benefit of the crappy 2012 season.

  17. 17 JoeD said at 5:42 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Thats what’s so scary about the position that we’re in now. For the past 10+ years I never felt like we were in danger of fielding bad teams for multiple seasons. i always thought the team was strong enough to survive a bad draft.

    Now I feel like if the 12/13 drafts don’t pan out either, that could set us back A LOT!!!!! I think getting guys like Kendricks and Boykin to play at a high level is going to paramount getting this team to move forward.

  18. 18 GEagle said at 6:46 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    We need two more good drafts before we can even afford a stinker draft

  19. 19 A_T_G said at 9:39 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Since we are compliment my grammar in this thread, thank you for writing “a lot” as two words. The space between those two words is more often neglected than the corner of my yard I never get to.

  20. 20 JoeD said at 9:41 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Thanks. Engrish was my best subject in school!

  21. 21 HipDaDip said at 6:46 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Tommy, sort of unrelated, but why is it bad to have 2 small WRs in the game? Is the idea that if you have DeSean and Benn in, you can run to Benn’s side, but if it’s DeSean and Damaris then you are counting on one of your undersized WRs to block? Or is it more to do with the passing game, where you have fewer plays at your disposal because some routes require a tough receiver?

  22. 22 A_T_G said at 9:34 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    I wondered about this a few weeks ago on here. If I’m a DC, I am more comfortable playing against one small, fast guy and one bigger, slower guy because I can tailor my defense to match my faster corner and my bigger corner accordingly.

    The answer I came up with is consistency. With Jackson and Johnson, there will likely be some secondaries that can’t keep up but some that can shut them down. With more variety at WR, hopefully you can find something that works against every opponent.

    My research for this came from admitting that professional OCs know more than me, so they must have a reason, then guessing. I am interested in others’ thoughts.

  23. 23 HipDaDip said at 9:50 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Sounds reasonable. Regarding your first point, don’t some teams switch CBs across the field to deal with a particular WR? I feel like the whole question goes back to what Chip said regarding the benefit of having TEs: if you have lots of them, you have the versatility to play to what the defense is giving you. Arrelious Benn would be more similar to the TE, meaning he helps support the run game and can create mismatches. However, it sounds like Damaris creates mismatches on his own. I wonder if the coaches are a bit biased towards wanting players who can help enforce schemes that creates mismatches, rather than create mismatches by themselves. With Megatron out there, there isn’t that much for an OC to do but get him the ball. I bet it’s much more exciting to figure out how to play chess with 5 TE-WR hybrids on the field.

  24. 24 GvilleEagleFan said at 11:23 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    I think that in a more “traditional” offense it might matter more. Even with Mac and/or Cooper as the #2 WR, I think we’re likely to see reps split much more evenly across the top 6 or so pass catchers. Kelly’s offense is about running tons of plays, but an often-overlooked element is that he has three speeds to his game. The quick strike capability is more used to hold the advantage when the particular personnel set of the offense has an advantage over the defense. When they’re at “yellow” and “red” (I think that’s what they were called at Oregon) I think you’ll see plenty of 1 for 1 substitutions.

    The two small WRs thing was a problem in Andy’s offense even when we had Mac simply because he and DJax almost never came off the field. I still think you’ll rarely see DJax come off, but I think we’ll see a healthy rotation of Johnson, Benn, Ertz as the opposite wideout with Casey or Avant in the slot when Ertz goes out wide.

  25. 25 D3FB said at 3:08 AM on August 5th, 2013:

    Because teams with massive press corners i.e. the Seahawks can neutralize them.

  26. 26 SteveH said at 7:29 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    2012 draft is really whats saving this teams bacon. Can you imagine if we’d whiffed on Cox and Boykin looked like a 4th round washout instead of a young stud? Our defense would be a mishmash of miscasts, has beens, injury concerns and scrappy overachievers.

  27. 27 GEagle said at 8:08 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    chip gushed over Kendricks today, talking about what a 3 down LB he is, and how he has no one else like him….Guess Mosher and Dguns report about Mykal being just a 3rd down back or even possibly being traded was BS…they should be forced to donate 1 paycheck to charity for such worthless dribble

  28. 28 GvilleEagleFan said at 8:10 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Thanks for not using the apostrophe!

  29. 29 GEagle said at 8:12 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    i don’t mean to do it mate…My auto correct does it. I’ll try to catch it since it drives people mad

  30. 30 GvilleEagleFan said at 8:37 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    I know, but I appreciate the effort!

  31. 31 GEagle said at 8:14 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    , who is the cowboys RB Dunbar?

  32. 32 GEagle said at 9:21 PM on August 4th, 2013:

    Remmington practiced with the Oline today..

    Meco Gushed about this being the defenses best practice

  33. 33 I Got Jokes, Calm Down said at 5:57 AM on August 5th, 2013:

    i like reading big’uns better, but this ant that bad ahahahahahaha

  34. 34 I Got Jokes, Calm Down said at 5:59 AM on August 5th, 2013:

    Jaiquawn Jarrett… smh… barf

  35. 35 GEagle said at 1:16 PM on August 5th, 2013:

    The jets say he looks good lol

  36. 36 Louis Vuitton Outlet said at 9:16 AM on August 6th, 2013:

    Louis Vuitton Outlet

    Well done ! Drinking water might have been more useful, but hey …

  37. 37 rPrDHDpG said at 9:32 AM on August 6th, 2013: