Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mudd's Asst. Keeps the Faith

Assistant offensive line coach Eugene Chung isn't in the media guide, but he's running the Eagles' OL, with Howard Mudd basically part-timing the job at age 70.

Mudd's Asst. Keeps the Faith

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Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd has been absent throughout much of the offseason. (Michael Perez/AP)
Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd has been absent throughout much of the offseason. (Michael Perez/AP)

Eugene Chung doesn't appear in the listing of Eagles coaches posted on the team Web site, but he does indeed exist. Chung was seated at a long table in the NovaCare cafeteria Monday afternoon, answering questions about the offensive line.

The Eagles offered a rare chance for reporters to talk to offensive position coaches, and Howard Mudd was absent, as he was for the recent rookie camp, as he will be for this week's start of full-team OTAs.

The Eagles insist that Mudd is OK and will be back long before the spring minicamps are over. Basically, at 70, having been lured out of retirement last year by Andy Reid, Mudd decides when he wants to work.

Chung, 42, is Mudd's assistant, and maybe even his heir apparent, having transitioned into OL coaching after originally assisting with strength and conditioning. He was the 13th overall selection in the 1992 draft, by the Patriots, out of Virginia Tech, but played just six seasons, for three teams.

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In Mudd's absence, Chung is the guy teaching newcomers the Mudd system, which last year took some transitioning for veterans used to Juan Castillo's approach. Mudd's o-linemen tend to be more athletic and take a more proactive approach to pass blocking.

"His style is very unique," Chung said Monday, when asked about teaching the Mudd system. "It allows a player to be athletic. It's a good style, once you know the concepts."

The biggest issue facing Mudd and Chung is plugging in free-agent signee Demetress Bell for Jason Peters, who almost certainly will miss the 2012 season with a twice-repaired Achilles'.

"Demetress is a great athlete also," Chung said. "I'm not concerned with our left tackle position because Demetress is in there. I know Jason was a great leader out there; I'm sure Demetress will be, too. He's an older vet [28] now, the guys have embraced him ... I'm not concerned."

But surely, given Peters' extraordinary, All-Pro-level athleticism, the Eagles will do a few things differently without him?

"I don't believe that," Chung said. "I look at Demetress, and we've studied his film quite extensively, what he is is, he's an incredible athlete. He was a basketball player, so you know he's athletic, you know he can stay in front of people. It's just teaching him what we do ... he's picking it up now. He understands it and he's embraced it. By the time training camp comes around, he'll be fully evolved into our system. I'm not worried at all about that."

Chung said not having Mudd around all the time this spring hasn't been odd, "it's been a good learning period for me, to kind of take the reins, teach the room, lead the drills outside. It's been fine. Last season, we were out there together, and I saw everything he did ... There's times when I'll have a question, but he's available to me all the time."

Chung said he speaks with Mudd two or three times a week when Mudd is away. Mudd currently is on the West Coast, Chung said.

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