Howard Mudd was already speaking with reporters when I sidled up and turned on the recorder. I’m not sure how long he talked before I got there, but I recorded him talking for over 26 minutes. There isn’t a better interview affiliated with the Eagles than Howard Mudd. He said so much, that I figured I’d just paraphrase him in bullet points:
- Mudd doesn’t expect his OL to block any differently protecting a slow-footed quick-release QB like Peyton Manning than he does with such a fast, elusive QB that tends to hold onto the ball longer like Michael Vick. To emphasize the point, he said “We (can only protect) a throwing spot,” and put his water bottle down on the table as if it were the QB his OL was trying to protect. “Do I expect Michael to throw (from that spot) every time? Probably not, because you’re taking away his athleticism.”
- Mudd and Vick talk a lot. He’s not trying to “coach the QB,” but they meet quite a bit so Mudd can help Vick understand blocking schemes.
- Says Vick is “highly motivated to succeed.” He wants to overcome his instinct to just take off and run “when a little something goes wrong.” Likes him as a person, respects his work ethic.
- One thing they really stress is the depth of the pocket, since Vick is short. The more space the OL can give him in the pocket, the better. Obviously, this is the case with any QB, but the idea is that they don’t want to concede any ground.
- Mudd didn’t know how they could more effectively cut down on batted passes at the line (Vick has 14 passes batted at the line last year, according to PFF. That was the 2nd highest total in the league, even with Vick missing significant time).
Much more after the jump…
- More trust this year between Jason Kelce and Vick.
- Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce are much further along this year than last.
- The more difficult adjustment for a guy like Todd Herremans was the move from guard to tackle, more so than Juan Castillo’s style of blocking to Mudd’s.
- Jason Peters blocked a lot of the best pass rushers in the league one-on-one last year. That probably won’t change with Demetress Bell. They probably won’t give him more help. “We don’t have to invent a new offense because Jason Peters isn’t here.”
- Julian Vandervelde is going to see action at C during the preseason, in addition to G. If the season began right now, Dallas Reynolds would be the backup C. Mudd said “I believe we got the guy we drafted” in Vandervelde. Mudd said that the Vandervelde/Reynolds battle is what he is most looking forward to in preseason.
- Rookie Dennis Kelly will learn the OT and G positions. (Kelly is 6’8).
- This is the best group of 15 players on the OL that Mudd has had, in his opinion, in as long as he can remember.
- First half of the season, Mudd would give the OL a grade of anywhere between a B an a D. Second half of the season he thought it was an A or B. He cited the 2nd Giants game specifically as a game where they really played great.
- Mudd didn’t even know who Evan Mathis was when he first saw him. “And Kelce, I didn’t know him from a load of coal.”
- Jason Peters will be in Lehigh, just not out on the field. Thinks Peters has Hall of Fame ability.