Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What they're saying: Aaron Rodgers hurt, Folesmania rages on

Folesmania rages on this week, and the Eagles may have gotten a big break with an injury to Aaron Rodgers Monday night against the Bears. If Rodgers can't go against the Eagles next Sunday, they'll face Seneca Wallace. Here's what they're saying: Aaron Rodgers hurt on opening drive - Rob Demovsky, ESPN

What they're saying: Aaron Rodgers hurt, Folesmania rages on

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Folesmania rages on this week, and the Eagles may have gotten a big break with an injury to Aaron Rodgers Monday night against the Bears. If Rodgers can't go against the Eagles next Sunday, they'll face Seneca Wallace. Here's what they're saying:

Aaron Rodgers hurt on opening drive - Rob Demovsky, ESPN

The Packers game just got a whole lot winnable for the Eagles next Sunday if Rodgers can't play.

Eagle eye in the sky: Foles' seven TDs - Fran Duffy, PE.com

Foles' performance was spectacular, as he put his ability to throw with anticipation, win with eye manipulation, create space for himself inside the pocket, move defenders with pump fakes and make touch throws with great ball placement was put on full display.

Jimmy note: Great breakdown by Fran. Even on the plays which seemed like easy throws, such as the one to a wiiiiiide open DeSean Jackson down the sideline, Foles did some subtle things like moving the safety with his eyes pre-throw. On that particular TD, the CB fell, leaving DeSean open, but the safety was also nowhere in the picture because Foles got him out of position with savvy QB play.

Is this the real Nick Foles? - Rich Hofmann

Foles threw for an NFL record-tying seven touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders; that is not a misprint. Against a defense that had put up good numbers in the first half of the season, Foles — aided and abetted by coach Chip Kelly’s play-calling — absolutely shredded the Raiders’ secondary, making it look uncompetitive when he wasn’t making it look inept.

Against the Cowboys, in a game billed as the chance for Foles to take the starting job away from Michael Vick, Foles folded. Two weeks later, given another chance when Vick re-injured his hamstring, Foles unfurled the kind of game that will not soon be forgotten — accurate, decisive, devastating, 49-20.

So, which is the truth?

Buying in on Foles - Tommy Lawlor, IgglesBlitz

Some of you want to know why I’m still saying that I need to see more from Nick Foles. He’s looked very good to great in 2.5 games this year. Isn’t that enough to show he can be The Guy?

The point I’ve tried to make for a while now is that I want Nick to play well and show that he is a franchise QB. But it takes time to do that. A couple of games isn’t enough. You need a couple of months.

Teams must be able to study a player. They must be able to figure out his strengths and weaknesses and build their defensive gameplans accordingly. When that happens and the player is still successful, you’ve got something.

Also, time has a way of showing who a player really is. Kevin Kolb looked like a stud vs the Chiefs (2009) and Falcons (2010), but he was exposed over time. He could not play at that level consistently. Kolb needed the right circumstances to succeed.

Foles could still be in that same category. I think he’s different, but I need time to know for sure.

Chip Kelly puts the haters on blast - Brandon Lee Gowton, BGN

The Eagles executed better because they had a quarterback who went out there and made the throws he needed to make. Sounds simple, but that's what it boils down to: fundamental football. The Eagles offense didn't struggle against Dallas and New York because those teams found a way to entirely shut it down. A closer review of the All-22 film confirms receivers were getting open, but the man responsible for getting the ball there wasn't getting the job done.

So when someone like Phil Simms calls the Eagles a "bottom five offense", or Warren Sapp predicts the Eagles to not even score a TD against the Raiders, or when Merrill Hoge deems Kelly's offense "vanilla", feel free to laugh, because Chip Kelly is pretty darn good at his job. Sunday was a perfect example.

Jimmy note: My guess is that if you are put 'on blast,' that is not a good thing.

Game review: Eagles offense vs Raiders - Sheil Kapadia, Birds 24/7

Jason Kelce had a couple highlight reel plays. He got right up on the linebacker on Brown’s 32-yard run in the first and did a great job of pulling out in front on Brown’s 8-yard run. Kelce got out in front on Brown’s 7-yard run in the second and took the linebacker to the ground on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the third. A couple negatives: He couldn’t quite get to the LB on McCoy’s outside run that lost a yard in the first. And Kelce couldn’t hold his block on the LB on Brown’s 4-yard run in the first. No issues whatsoever in pass protection though. Overall, a strong game.

Jimmy spoiler: Sheil found a lot of positives in the Raiders game.

• I found these two pictures at the Eagles' reddit page. Tremendous:

• Here's what Yahoo's fantasy football page said about the QB situation before the Eagles-Raiders game, via reader @Brendanekstrom. Poor Matt Barkley takes some unnecessary shrapnel. I have to wonder if the person who wrote this was a UCLA alum:

• The 49ers cut Nnamdi Asomugha:

 

 

So much for the thinking that Nnamdi was only bad because the Eagles weren't using him properly.

• Quick commentary on the Richie Incognito hazing stuff in Miami:

There’s a book called “Finding the Winning Edge” written by Bill Walsh. It may be the best football book ever written.  It’s so good in fact, that it’s extremely difficult to find for less than $100.  It details every facet of the job of an NFL head coach / GM, to the most minor details. One of those minor details that Walsh dedicates an entire page to is hazing. If you watched Hard Knocks on HBO when the Dolphins were on it, you'll see that the Dolphins allowed hazing. Bill Walsh saw no benefit to it whatsoever. Here's the hazing page from Walsh's book:

The proper approach to establishing a policy on hazing rookies in training camp is very straightforward – simply follow the advice of the legendary Paul Brown: “There should be none of it.”  Rightfully so, Brown believed that any form of hazing unduly compromises a team’s learning process.

In reality, rookies have a lot to do in training camp, including learning a new system and adjusting to a totally new environment (i.e., primarily the huge difference in the size, ability and experience between pro-level players and college-level players). If they’re going to succeed (i.e., make the active team roster), those rookies have to give every bit of their attention to handling the relatively traumatic transition.

Any form of hazing that disrupts the ability of these rookies to focus on the tasks at hand can be counterproductive, not only themselves, but also to the team as well. Depending on the circumstances, such hazing can have more of a negative impact on some players than others.

For example, hazing will typically not prevent a high draft choice from making the team.  Having invested a lot in this type of player (i.e., money, high draft choice, etc.), a team is usually quite reluctant to give up on the player by releasing him.

The situation is quite different, however, for those middle-round draft choices, undrafted signees, free agent pickups, and those perennial training camp players who try out for the team despite having no real chance of making the roster.  These are athletes who are literally fighting for their professional lives to prove that they belong in the NFL. Hazing diminishes their chances.

Young players have far more to worry about than getting up and singing their alma mater in front of the team before dinner. Depending upon the format and the circumstances, hazing can be embarrassing, humiliating and cruel.

Unfortunately, as thoughtless as hazing may be, some veterans persist in such deplorable behavior. When given an opportunity to demean vulnerable, young rookies, those veterans who are less intelligent, who have dysfunctional sense of reasoning, or who may view hazing as a meaning for wrecking competition (for jobs) that the rookies may provide will undoubtedly surface.

Hoping to be accepted by the veterans, most of the rookies will endure these taunts, as humiliating as the insulting behavior may be. Eventually, however, some rookies will only take so much and will turn on their predators.

The key point to remember is that hazing is dehumanizing. It does nothing to bond athletes to each other. Bonding between players occurs on the field when the veterans learn to trust and respect the abilities and commitment of the rookies.

An excellent example of the negative aspects of hazing occured recently in an NFL training camp. A first-year player actually left the team he was trying out for rather than have his head shaved.

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