Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Looking at the offense

With much of the attention in minicamp on the defensive backs and the return game, there are some issues to deal with on offense.

Looking at the offense

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With much of the attention in minicamp on the defensive backs and the return game, there was seemingly less talk than usual about the state of the offense. Here is a look at some of what offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg had to say during his session with reporters, according to the transcript distributed to the media by the Eagles:

On the depth at offensive tackle and whether the team would move a guard out to play tackle if necessary:
“There’s no problem with that. Both guards do a fine job at the tackle spot. I think we’re okay there. I’d like another young one to rise to the top as well, but I think we’re in good shape.”

On whether it would be difficult for guards Todd Herremans and Shawn Andrews to move out to tackle mid-season:
“They take reps at the tackle spot. Once we get into the season, it’s not always in a team-type atmosphere, but certainly, in the individual and group work, they work a little bit at tackle throughout the season.”

On what he has seen and what he expects to see in these minicamps:
“Right now, the veterans are doing a nice job. The timing is there and we’re trying to be as sharp as we can. That’s been good. As we go with the next minicamps, we get into more situations. That consists of more plays and then our thought process within those situations. That’s always important. We try to get all of those situations done before we get into training camp when we get to do them again.”

On what RB Lorenzo Booker adds to the offense:
“He certainly has quickness, terrific hands, and good speed. He’s a pretty sharp guy too; he’s made one mistake in three practices. He’s done a fine job up to date. He’s certainly got some speed and quickness and is a receiving threat.”

On whether the expectations of rookies has changed over the years with rookies expected to know the offense by training camp:
“There are two thoughts there. Number one, many more rookies have to play nowadays than they did back then. Rookies are forced to play much quicker. The second thought is that training camp is so quick nowadays that they have to have gone through a learning process prior to training camp to have any chance at all of helping the ballclub out.”

On WR DeSean Jackson’s ability to get off jams with his size:
“He’s 5-10. He doesn’t have much [weight], maybe 165 or 170, somewhere in there. You beat bump-and-run and cloud-corner jams many different ways. You can beat it with strength and power, and then you can beat it with quickness, and you can beat it with quickness and moves. Within the release moves, you can either use quickness, power, or both. There are different ways to get off that, and he’s done a pretty good job with that. You can also create formations, motions and shifts to give him a little bit of air as well.”

On how he sees the running back position with the variety that the team has:
“We’re deep there, at this point. We do have some different styles of backs; different running styles. Some are more effective from the back field, or out wide. Some can play out wide and in the slot in the pass game. It’s good to have that depth and it’s good to have that competition.”

On whether there’s a starting fullback right now:
“[FB] Jason [Davis] has taken all of [the snaps] with the first team right now. I would expect there to be some great competition there at that fullback spot, with [Dan] Klecko. Then we have that free agent [Jed Collins] who’s pretty good too. He’s shown a little bit.”

On where he sees RB Tony Hunt fitting in with Booker now on the team:
“Tony Hunt is right in the middle of all that competition. It’s going to be fierce, I would expect, going into training camp if they all stay healthy. I have some tough choices to make, but I expect us to be pretty good at that spot.”

On whether he looks for fullbacks that can catch the ball out of the backfield:
“We certainly like to have that. We’ve got [RB] Brian [Westbrook], who we try to get the ball to a couple of times a game. And, some receivers have been in and out with us, which we try to get them the ball a few times. And then, certainly the skill and ability of the fullback comes into play.”

On what G Todd Herremans needs to improve upon:
“I don’t want to get into many details, but there are several things that everybody has to improve upon. He knows of several things that he can improve upon. He does some things very, very well for us. He’s certainly helped this football team succeed.”

On whether the offense will play an H-back at all during the season:
“That could happen. We’ve got a couple of players that could play that type of spot. We typically don’t do too much of that; that H-back. We do some of it, but it’s really not part of our base. Now, if we get a really good player who’s built for that, then you could see more of that type of play with an H-back.”

On whether TE Kris Wilson is one of the players that could potentially play that position:
“Yes. All of them can do it. In fact, [TE] L.J. [Smith] can do it. [TE] Matt [Schobel] is very good at that as well.”

On whether FB Dan Klecko could be used as a TE in short-yardage situations:
“That’s a possibility. This is so early. This is our first minicamp and we haven’t gotten a good look at them. All those things that you’re mentioning are possibilities. As we go along with evaluations, some of those things do come to fruition and some don’t.”

On how Kris Wilson is picking up the offense and whether he’s ever played a west coast offense before:
“Not to my knowledge. He was in the three-digit system, in the past. He’s a real smart guy and he’s picked it up real well, very quickly. Booker has done the same. He’s a very smart guy. Both of the guys are smart guys so they picked it up very quickly. It’s a continuous learning process through this minicamp and into May and the middle of June minicamps. Then they should be pretty comfortable going into training camp. That’s my goal, for all of the new players and rookies to be pretty comfortable going into training camp.”

On how the health of players like Donovan McNabb and L.J. Smith affects the confidence of the offense:
“Offensively, we’re pretty confident. We’re always confident. We have high expectations, so we always try to keep that. When the [guys] are healthy, it’s just a natural situation where your confidence is a little bit higher. Last year, we leaned quite a bit on Brian [Westbrook], much more so than would be healthy, I would think. He certainly toted the ball, both in the pass and run game.”

On whether he will experiment with Westbrook and Booker on the field at the same time:
“Yeah. You can imagine some of the other scenarios, with some of the other excellent players that we have in there, along with those two. Certainly with our fullback situation, we have some different style running backs. There are a lot of combinations there that we could use to put a little stress on the defensive thought process.”

On whether he’s okay with Westbrook playing a smaller percentage of the offense this year:
“Brian Westbrook, after the year when you look at all of the film, what a player that guy is. Brian Westbrook is a fabulous player. I’m just saying we needed to lean on him, we had to lean on him, and we were forced to lean on him just a little bit more last year because of several things. If we’re healthy, we can spread it around a little bit more and be a little bit more dynamic. Now we were sixth on offense last year, I think the year before we were second. We were first in big plays two years ago, and then we went to sixth last year, I believe. So we went down just a touch in our scoring—there are a lot of factors in that one, though. We certainly could be more dynamic with everybody healthy.”

On what type of improvement QB Kevin Kolb has made and whether he’s ready to be the backup:
“We’ll see. He’s working hard, both mentally and physically. We work hard and we prepare and he’s done a heck of a job with that. He’s continuing to impress and he’s continued to get better in every phase and I would expect him to play well through these camps and into the preseason. As you know, [QB] A.J. [Feeley] is a veteran that's won games in this league and has done a nice job in many situations for us. So, there’s a pretty good competition going on there. Kevin’s getting much of the number two reps, so that’s good. He’s in that mix there.”

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