The Earners

We’re having some problems over at Iggles Blitz due to our friends the Russian hackers. We’ll get that solved shortly. For now…

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One of the things I love about this Eagles team is how Chip Kelly has gotten them to bend to his ways. No one is given anything. You have to earn your job.

Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson were highly frustrated by this in the spring. By summer time, both were playing great and thriving in Kelly’s offense. Fans and the media were shocked when some preseason stars weren’t rewarded with roster spots and/or playing time. Why? They weren’t doing what Kelly and his staff wanted.

The staff wasn’t going to reward guys just because of potential. Michael Bamiro is on the practice squad while Matt Tobin is on the roster. Tobin has a limited ceiling, but he earned his spot with better play.

The staff wasn’t going to reward guys just because of production. Making plays wasn’t good enough. You had to do them the right way in order to get full credit. Vinny Curry sat while Damion Square played. Emmanuel Acho lost his job because he wasn’t good enough on STs. Najee Goode was brought in and given his spot.

This led to some serious head-scratching. There were also questions about bias when Jeff Maehl made the team over some other WRs. Maehl has become a solid STs player and effective backup WR.

Kelly’s standards have frustrated some players (I get the feeling Brandon Graham isn’t a huge fan), but most guys have seen the light. Do what Kelly wants and you’ll get on the field. Don’t and you’ll sit. Simple as that. This mindset has helped the team. Players knew they had to deliver results or they would be benched.

It was incredibly frustrating last year when Andy Reid failed to call out Nnamdi Asomugha or DRC for their lack of effort. He finally did that toward the end of the year and they played a bit better. In my mind, Reid was far too patient with them and it sent a bad message. Guys can have bad games, but a lack of effort should not be tolerated. Play hard or else. Period. Effort is not an option.

Kelly’s style demands that everyone do their job as best they can. You don’t get a pass just because you’re “only a STer”. Everyone is held to a standard. I think that has paid dividends as backups have been forced to play on offense and defense. Allen Barbre stepped in for Jason Peters last week for about 3 quarters and he played just as good as Peters. Najee Goode has replaced Mychal Kendricks for almost 2 games now and Goode has looked terrific at times. Roc Carmichael has replaced Bradley Fletcher at CB and has done a solid job.

There is no panic when a starter goes down. The next player steps up and does his job. Good teams have a way of bringing the best out of backups. I think the backups sense the pressure of needing to play well so as not to let their teammates down. It also helps that Kelly has treated them as important pieces since Day One. Kelly has been demanding of them just like he has been with his star players. The backups might have physical limitations, but they are well prepared and should be confident. If Kelly didn’t believe in them, they wouldn’t have a spot on the roster.

There really is a different vibe with this team than in some recent years. This feels like a team rather than a collection of players.

That’s quite an accomplishment when you consider there is a new staff, new systems and a lot of new players. You could have very easily had a year of transition where the Andy Reid guys, Chip Kelly guys and total outsiders all battled. That hasn’t happened. Some players were very loyal to Reid and it took a bit to win them over,  but Kelly did that.

Players seem to genuinely like him. Kelly isn’t a dictator. Maybe benevolent tyrant would be a better description. Things are going to be done his way, but he’s not going to be confrontational about it. And a lot of the stuff he wants done is going to be favorable to the players. They have to practice at a faster tempo, but the practices are shorter in length. Players hate practice so they’re all for anything that gets them off the field faster.

Kelly earned the players respect very quickly. They could tell he was a smart coach and would make them better players.

This team has certainly earned Kelly’s respect. They are playing good football and winning games. Most importantly, they are doing it the Chip Kelly way.

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It is official. Nick Foles leads the NFL in QB rating.

1 – Nick Foles – 128.0 2 – Peyton Manning – 118.3 3 – Aaron Rodgers – 108.0 4 – Drew Brees – 106.7 5 – Russell Wilson – 105.1

Foles also leads the NFL in yards per attempt at 9.59. Rodgers is second down at 8.84.

Any number above 8 is impressive. Above 9? That’s insane.

Donovan McNabb’s career high is 8.4 from back in 2006. Michael Vick’s high was 8.1 prior to this year. He’s up at 8.6 YPA this season.

I never expected Chip Kelly to throw the long ball this much. Of course, it also helps when screen passes (RB, TE, WR) are going for 20, 30 or 40 yards seemingly every week.

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Apparently Bill Davis had the defense very well prepared.

“They did a good job of scheming us up,” quarterback Robert Griffin said. “They kind of knew what was coming before it was coming and that was disheartening. But like I told the guys, regardless of what’s going on out there, we’re the players and we have to make the plays work, and we just weren’t doing that in the first half.”

A number of times early in the game, Griffin performed his handoff fakes and looked to make a throw but then had to pull the ball down and either look for another receiver or run the ball.

Other times, Griffin looked for downfield throws, but the Eagles had taken away his deep reads as well.

The Redskins went with a run-heavy attack as a result, rushing the ball 28 times in the first half and only throwing the ball seven times.

“Obviously, we ran the ball well, but in the passing game a lot of times, they were tit for tat. They were there, where they needed to be and a lot of times they were taking the routes that needed to be run and that’s disheartening, but we have to come up with something for that.”

Love to read something like that.

I joked on Twitter during the game that is it funny that Mike Shanahan, Mr NFL Offense, is the guy running the gimmicky attack that looks like a college offense while Chip Kelly, Mr Gimmicky College Offense, is running more conventional stuff. Kelly does some unusual stuff, but which QB looks like he is running an actual NFL passing attack? The Eagles, Vick or Foles, and there’s no question about it.

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8 Responses to The Earners

  1. icdogg says:

    Remember when San Diego already had Drew Brees but he somehow didn’t fit their prototype of what they wanted and they wound up trading him away to make room for Philip Rivers? That’s the kind of decision I fear when we speak of going all out to draft a QB this year.

    • Anders says:

      I be honest, Im really torn.

      In one way you have Foles looking like a total legit QB and at the same time, you can see all those missed yards from him been slightly more mobile than Dan Marino.

      I be honest if Mariota magicly fell in the 1st round (crazier thing have happened before), I would jump on him in the 1st. Only 3 QBs I would touch in the 1st would be Bridgewater, Mariota or Manziel. Else I rather wait for the later rounds (like Logan Thomas or Braxton Miller if he declares)

  2. Julio says:

    Going off RG3′s quote, don’t know if anyone else noticed but Fox had a view of RG3′s face on the play where he got strip sacked and he looked really hesitant about the play call right before the snap.

  3. Anders says:

    Seems Davis had a good game plan

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1854841-tale-of-the-tape-from-nfl-week-11

    Great break down of the last play. Double Garcon and Moss, make RG3 go through his progression and it of course helps that Cox broke free.

  4. Finlay says:

    Tommy, can you help me out finding a blog, I think you linked to it last week on igglesblitz… it was something like kelly bandwagon, or bandwagoner or something…. and they wrote pieces about being high on Foles.
    Can’t find it!

  5. T_S_O_P says:

    Really could be talking about Reid (circa ’00-’04) with some of those comments, particularly about unknowns stepping up for starters. Of course, that is a great compliment to Kelly and so it should be.

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