• If you’re an X’s and O’s buff, I would strongly suggest you watch the following two videos, which are done extraordinarily well by Charles Fischer of FishDuck.com. They detail Oregon’s two basic running plays/formations, the inside zone read and the outside zone read.
The Eagles are running this in practice, and they should give you an understanding of the basics of the offense Chip Kelly ran at Oregon.
If you’ve been following Eagles OTAs under new head coach Chip Kelly, you’re aware that he likes to have music blaring during practice. His playlist can be found here. Because his practices seemed to be so efficient, I thought I would apply Chip’s approach to my everyday life as an Eagles blogger.
(Now that I’ve set up the following bit in late night talk show form, please also subscribe to my YouTube channel, since I’ll be doing more videos like this).
Pass rushers: The two first teamers are obvious. This will be a huge year for both Anthony Spencer and Brian Orakpo, who are both in contract years, although Spencer is used to having to “prove it,” which he did last season. Ryan Kerrigan was up and down last year, but showed so much as a rookie that I know he can play. The jury is still out on Brandon Graham, who still has yet to play 500 snaps in any season, although he showed a lot of promise last year.
Interior D-Line: Fletcher Cox is probably already the best interior defensive lineman in the NFC East, and Barry Cofield is a player who flat out balled down the stretch last season. Linval Joseph had a little bit of a hiccup last year after a very promising rookie season, and Jason Hatcher is a nice starter. Jay Ratliff is definitely in decline at this point, but can still play. It’ll be interesting to see how he looks in a 4-3. Cullen Jenkins is a one-dimensional interior pass rusher at this point in his career, but still an effective role player if used properly. I hated leaving Mike Patterson off this list, but he has significant health concerns.
QB: I think all three of these guys are close, and then there’s a big dropoff to whoever starts for the Eagles. If RG3′s knee was healthy, I would lean toward him, and obviously if we were talking about “Who would I rather have over the long term,” RG3 would be the clear choice. But for 2013, give me the guy I trust the most.
RB: Pete Prisco of CBS penned a Top 100 list (I’m not linking to it) that had Alfred Morris listed as the 41st best player in the NFL, 42 spots ahead of RG3 at 83. LeSean McCoy did not make the list… at all. It’s kind of funny how perception of players goes. In 2011, McCoy had 1309 rushing yards on 273 carries and 20 total TDs. People were calling him a clear-cut Top 3 RB. In 2012, McCoy’s entire offensive line was lost for the season and the Eagles were playing from behind in every game, and suddenly McCoy’s talent is gone? Ridiculous.
Alfred Morris had an awesome rookie season, and his “see hole, hit hole, break tackles” style of running fits in perfectly with what the Redskins do on offense. But he’s not as good as LeSean McCoy.
For the record, I strongly considered putting David Wilson ahead of DeMarco Murray, but I’m just not comfortable yet with Wilson’s ability to do the “little things.” However, Wilson is one of those guys who could wind up being the #1 guy on posts like these in a year or two.
WR: Here was Dez Bryant’s second half of the season last year:
• Doug Free agreed to cut his pay in half. Because some of my readers (such as the great Derf Diggy and this guy on Twitter) love it when I reference back to past articles, here was my argument for Doug Free not to take a significant pay cut… one last time. Good job by the Cowboys here. They played a game of chicken with Free and his agent, and despite having a boatload of logical reasons why he shouldn’t take a huge cut, Free did indeed agree to significantly less money. The only leverage the Cowboys had was the threat of kicking Free to the street, which was a far less appealing option to them than a more modest pay cut. But the Cowboys played the leverage they had very well, and scared Free into a bad deal. Kudos. Step 1 for the Cowboys: Complete. Onto Step 2: Hoping Doug Free isn’t terrible again this year.
• The Cowboys added Anthony Hargrove. I saw Hargrove up close at Eagles training camp in 2011. I remember him looking really quick, and thought he’d be a nice fit in the Eagles’ “wide nine.” I can see him playing the under tackle position in Dallas and possibly DE in run-heavy packages. For whatever reason, he was cut. The Cowboys will be Hargrove’s 7th team. He was a nice role player during the Saints’ title run, but has bounced around because of “dependability” and drug issues.
I am currently working on a ridiculously time-consuming project (to be published soon), so apologies for the slower content the last couple days. If anything very noteworthy happens today, I’ll be on it, but otherwise, my efforts will mostly be elsewhere.
For today, I just wanted to remind my Eagles readers that the best of the best in Eagles bloggers (and me) will be publishing our annual Eagles Almanac for the second year. I’m really proud of the way it turned out last year, and think it will be a lot better this time around. Last year, the Eagles Almanac 2012 was the first self-published all-Eagles preview emagazine ever. This year’s version will have over 100 pages of content and will be available as both an ebook and a paperback delivered directly to you. You can go here to pre-order.
A quick list of the contributing writers and bloggers:
The Eagles signed Felix Jones. As I noted when the Eagles were sniffing around him initially, he’s a 3rd RB only. LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are clearly the #1 and #2. Here are Felix’s strengths and weaknesses.
Tommy watched some tape of Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. Good read. Tommy’s not as high on Graham as sites like PFF, who don’t note the context with which he’s defeating offensive linemen:
While Graham was productive as a pass rusher last year, no one did anything special for him. He was almost always single-blocked. There were plenty of plays where TEs were assigned to block him. Compare this to the treatment that Trent Cole and Jason Babin got. Offenses gameplanned for them, in terms of playcalling and blocking.
Graham’s 2 best games were against Cincinnati and the second Dallas meeting. He went against a struggling Doug Free and Andre Smith. While Smith is a dominant run blocker, he is a mediocre pass blocker, which is part of why he sat on the free agent market so long this year. In those 2 games, Graham had 12 tackles, 4 sacks, and a FF. Take those games away and we’re talking about a different season.
According to TMZ.com, LeSean McCoy is being accused of the following:
A little before Christmas, McCoy, 15 women, a bodyguard and some other guys got a party bus and headed up to NYC from Philly.
The women were sprayed with water.
One of them didn’t like it.
McCoy ordered his bodyguard, a gentleman by the name of “Big John,” to “get her.”
Somebody (either “Big John” or McCoy) hit her in the face, and she went down.
While on the ground, they held her down and poured more liquids on her.
They then kicked her off the bus somewhere in the middle of the NJ Turnpike. (The NJ Turnpike, in case you’re unfamiliar, has a lot of distance in between each exit). When some of the other women complained they went back and got her, and dropped her off at the next rest stop.
Eagles OTAs yesterday were an experience, for sure. It was almost like a rock concert, set to football. There were times where I kind of felt like getting up and dancing. Seriously. Here are my random notes from the day:
• The play calling is going to be different than what you are used to seeing at the NFL level. Multiple coaches are sending in signals, some of which aren’t all that different from this:
Here’s Part I, Part II, and Part III in case you missed them. I may have gone a little overboard on analysis of a 3rd round pick, but I found Moore intriguing because he was so highly thought of (potential top 5 pick) just a few months ago. The next post will be a comprehensive analysis of Moore’s strengths, weaknesses, and how he might fit in with the Giants. Part IV will review Moore’s 2011 games against Northwestern and Kansas St. And as always, kudos to the greatness of DraftBreakdown.com for cutting up these videos.