Posts Tagged ‘Andy Reid’

Victory Monday for the Philadelphia Eagles

Monday, December 30th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog

 

 

 

 

Eagles 2013 NFC East Champs

 

This time last year, Andy Reid was a victim of Black Monday in the NFL and the Eagles’ future was entirely uncertain. Fast forward twelve months later, and under head coach Chip Kelly the Birds went 10-6 in their season and are the NFC East Champions.

That’s right. We are the champions.

In their final regular season game in Dallas on Sunday, the Eagles did not play their finest football. The offense was stalled, Nick Foles was all too often without protection and there were some head-scratching play calls. The defense kept the team in play all the way to the very end, when Brandon Boykin’s interception of Kyle Orton sealed the Eagles’ victory.

It was a stressful game. Many of us thought we’d experience heart failure before it was all over. But they did it. Not only did Philadelphia win the NFC East title, they did it by beating Dallas in Dallas. It’s a beautiful thing.

The Birds will face the New Orleans Saints at the Linc on Saturday. They have 24 hours to celebrate Sunday night’s win, and then it’s time to prepare for a New Orleans teams that won’t be easy to beat. The Eagles’ pass rush struggled against Orton. If they do the same against Drew Brees, there won’t be a chance.

But we have all of the coming week to consider what Philadelphia needs to do to beat the Saints. For now, enjoy the fact that the division has been won…and that it was done by beating Dallas.

Happy Victory Monday to you all.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Making The Case For Jamaal Charles As The NFL’s MVP

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

by Christian Roberts

Christian Roberts Blog

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Statistics: 246 Carries, 1,181 Rushing Yards, 11 TDs, 65 Receptions, 655 Receiving Yards, 7 TDs

2013 Statistics: 246 Carries, 1,181 Rushing Yards, 11 TDs, 65 Receptions,
655 Receiving Yards, 7 TDs

Jamaal Charles is becoming one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in all of the NFL. The former Texas standout has been the heart and soul of Kansas City’s offense all year. After an abysmal 2012 season where they went 2-14, Charles has been a huge part of the team’s turnaround to an 11-3 record so far in the 2013 campaign. Andy Reid deserves credit for this dramatic turnaround as well.

The Chiefs couldn’t have picked a better coach to utilize the star running back’s talents. His 98 targets out of the backfield are by far the most of his career. His previous high was 66. The workload he has taken on this year should speak volumes of how new head coach Andy Reid views him as a player.

With 2 games left in the season, Jamaal Charles has catapulted himself right into the thick of the MVP race with Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning. Dominating seemingly every time he touches the ball, the stud back is more than worthy of being the NFL’s MVP this year. Yes, Manning is on the verge of shattering the passing touchdown record, but what Charles has meant to Kansas City this year is almost unmatched by any player in the NFL.

Having picked up 98 first downs this year, the Chiefs’ offense lives and dies by Charles. Being the team’s leading rusher and receiver, you could argue the team wouldn’t even be in the playoffs without him.

All in all, taking the MVP from Peyton Manning this year is going to be one tough task, but the only other player as deserving of the award resides in Kansas City. How Jamaal Charles plays these next two games will be a direct determinant of just how close this MVP race is at season’s end.

 

Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports

 

Donovan McNabb retires as a Philadelphia Eagle; Number to be retired

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Donovan McNabb retires as a Philadelphia Eagle (Image via PhiladelphiaEagles.com)

Donovan McNabb retires as a Philadelphia Eagle
(Image via PhiladelphiaEagles.com)

Donovan McNabb was at the NovaCare on Monday morning to retire from his NFL career as a Philadelphia Eagle. Just before he took the podium, Jeffrey Lurie revealed even more news about his team’s former quarterback: That McNabb’s #5 jersey will be retired, never to be worn by another Philadelphia player.

The retirement ceremony will take place when Andy Reid makes his return to Philadelphia with his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, on September 19. McNabb will be only the ninth player in Eagles history to be bestowed the honor.

Former teammate Brian Dawkins introduced his good friend McNabb at the NovaCare. An emotional McNabb spoke from the heart about giving his all on the field, his teammates, and his historic relationship with Andy Reid. And he confessed that his greatest regret –”not being able to get a parade down Broad Street to celebrate a Super Bowl win.”

“To everyone that’s here, everybody that’s watching, to all the fans, I truly love you.  I gave everything I had when I stepped out on that field, I never complained.  When you see ‘5’, you knew ‘5’ was going to give you what he’s got.”

McNabb continued with words of advice and encouragement for current Eagles players preparing for the upcoming season:

“To all you current players that are playing now, play with passion, play with heart, trust the man next to you, understand he’s going to give you what he’s got. “

All told, the numbers from McNabb’s time in Philadelphia are staggering. He is the Eagles’ all-time leader in pass attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), yards (32,873) and touchdowns (216). He was one of just four players in NFL history to amass 30,000 passing yards, 200 TD passes, 3,000 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns in his career, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway, Fran Tarkenton and Steve Young. Despite throwing the ball more than any other signal caller in team history, McNabb ranks fourth in NFL history in interception percentage, throwing a pick on only 2.25% of all passes. He’s the winningest quarterback in team history, securing 92 Ws while in Philadelphia.

It’s no question that the honor is deserved for the most prolific quarterback in franchise history. The fact of the matter is that, in a very short period of time, a very bad team began to enjoy the level of success we still expect from the Birds. Not just making it to the playoffs, but making a deep run. 4 NFC Championships.  5 trips to NFC Championship games. 1 Super Bowl. Unlike the brutal years that preceeded McNabb’s time as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, he led an Eagles team that was fun to watch. Though still alluded by the ultimate prize, the team and its fans enjoyed an unprecedented level of success with McNabb under center.

Do you agree or disagree with the move?

Below is video of McNabb at his retirement.

Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

 

How his father’s dream became DeSean Jackson’s reality

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

Whether or not you consider yourself to be a fan of DeSean Jackson or even the Philadelphia Eagles, the  documentary “The Making of  a Father’s Dream“ is worth a watch for anyone ranging from football fanatics to those who appreciate a compelling family story.

As the tagline of the film, “It takes a village to catch a break,” indicates, the documentary is about so much more than DeSean. It’s about family. Parenthood.  Siblings, both by blood and by friendship. It’s about football and the drive and determination to fulfill a dream.  It’s a story that portrays a father’s love for his family and vice versa.

Though we now know Jackson as a wideout with a swagger, this film helps you understand  where that stance comes from. What is interpreted by some as arrogance is actually an unshakeable confidence that Jackson has in himself and his abilities. The movie introduces you to an entirely different side of the man who refers to himself as “D-Jack”.

Bill Jackson’s overwhelming desire to have a son play in the NFL pushed him away from older son Bryon for a time after an incident where Bill held a gun to Byron’s head after his son told him that, after two years in the NFL on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, he was ready to fulfill another dream–to be a filmmaker. But Bill’s determination kept him close with DeSean and allowed him to be “Pops” to several men without father figures who just missed out on achieving their own athletic aspirations but came together to help DeSean fulfill his. This group, comprised of Darrick Davis, Irving Booker, Gary Cablayan and Travis Clark–to this day is known as “Team Jackson.”

The film features DeSean from five years of age, when older brother Byron began pursuing his love of filmmaking through the start of his NFL career. We see a small but talented and energetic DeSean in Pop Warner, showing an ability that put him far above his peers even then. We witness family sacrifice with, mom Gayle moving from Atlanta to LA so that Jackson could attend NFL manufacturing powerhouse Long Beach Polytech High School.

We witness how the desire for independence after DeSean begins attending Cal almost pulls the receiver away from Team Jackson as they develop an intensive summer  workout routine for him without his input. But ultimately, he knows that they are all striving towards the same goal and he completes the grueling training schedule.

And that’s what makes this particular story special. With DeSean, it wasn’t just Bill who wanted to see the dream of his son being in the NFL fulfilled. This son’s passion matched the desire of his father. And that’s what made it work.

Bill Jackson is not presented with a soft, fuzzy lens. His positive qualities—his love, humor, strength and drive–are shown right along with those that were not his best –notably, when the pursuit of his son’s dreams became overbearing for others. DeSean had to walk a difficult line at Cal between team and family when his father publicly criticized the lack of playing time his son received. In fact, the Bill factor is why many believe that DeSean, widely believed to be a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, fell to the second round before being selected by Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.

A particularly interesting scene shows Jackson on the phone with Reid after being drafted and coming back into the room with his family to announce that, although DeSean thought it was rude, Reid told the rookie, “don’t bring your dad around here, we don’t want that kind of trouble.”

But it was a call that had to be made. This was now DeSean’s journey to make.

That didn’t keep Bill from beaming with pride and telling the world about his son’s success. He paraded around Pittsburgh, his hometown, in a #10 Jackson jersey along with a Terrible Towel. When asked about it, he tells Steelers fans that he’s a lifelong fan of the black and yellow, but he’s an Eagles fan now because his son plays for the team. The level of pride Bill has at his son’s accomplishment virtually jumps off the screen.

The combination of Jackson with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb gave DeSean a stellar rookie year, becoming the leading receiver on the team and helping the Birds make the NFC Championship game his rookie year. But that professional success was bittersweet, as Bill is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early in the season, a particularly lethal and fast-striking form of the disease. The once powerful  Bill is transformed into a much thinner, frailer version of himself.  Shown lying in his hospital bed, he wears an Eagles knit cap with #10 Jackson jersey draped across his legs, reminded of his son’s success as he tries to fight the disease with what little strength he has left.

Bill passed away in May of 2009 and we witness Pops’ ashes become one with the ocean, spread by the family who knew how much he loved the sea.

Jackson’s second season was also bittersweet against the lens of his father—a tremendous year that led him to become the first player in history to be selected in two positions for the Pro Bowl—both wide receiver and punt returner—but an achievement that his father never witnessed. But Bill was there—the game was played on what would have been his 65th birthday.

Bill’s tragic end inspired Jackson to create the DeSean Jackson Foundation, an organization which seeks to bring awareness and research funding for pancreatic cancer. Hearing Jackson and his mother speak about the Foundation demonstrates that it is a cause that brings the same passion we see from the player on the field into his off -field work.

“The Making of a Father’s Dream” is the ultimate Father’s Day tribute to Bill Jackson. Though he is not here to see the film, his presence and impact loom large in the 18 years of footage that culminated in the creation of the documentary. Check out a preview below.

The film is now available and can be seen on inDemand, Comcast, Verizon Fios, and other cable systems around the country. Please check your local listings for details.

Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Donovan McNabb to retire as a Philadelphia Eagle in September

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

Donovan McNabb will retire as a Philadelphia Eagle in September

Donovan McNabb will retire as a Philadelphia Eagle this fall.

Though no official announcement has been made by the Eagles organization, McNabb announced the news while conducting an interview on NBC Sports Radio on Monday.  The ceremony will likely take place on September 19, when his former coach Andy Reid will be present at the Linc with his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs.

It seems these days that McNabb has a healthy outlook on the many fans who loved him in Philadelphia versus those who were outspoken about their dislike of the former Eagles quarterback.

“There was never any animosity from the Philly fans.  The handful of fans that are the ones that are kind of being seen, they’re not a high percentage of fans who truly appreciate what you were able to do while you were there.  I have nothing but love for the Philly fans, even the ones who were highly criticizing me or opinionated in any way.  I can’t get upset at them because my job is to get out on the field and be productive.  That’s what quarterbacking is all about.”

While McNabb was never able to bring the ultimate win home for Philadelphia fans, this move is a no-brainer.  He led the Eagles to a level of success that we all now long to reach once again.  Love him or hate him, McNabb deserves for his football career to formally come to a close in the place he called home for 11 seasons.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 2013 regular season schedule features Monday Night Opener against the Redskins, return of Andy Reid

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

The Philadelphia Eagles 2013 schedule.
(Image via the Eagles’ Facebook page)

 

We’re in the heart of the long, cold, lonely offseason but there are signs that the light that is professional football will one day return.  That light on Thursday night came in the form of the release of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2013 schedule.

The first helping of regular season Eagles football will come on September 9 via a Monday Night matchup against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.  That will be one of only two primetime games for the Birds, which is a marked decrease from recent seasons.

The Eagles will have an intense opening to their schedule, featuring three games in the first ten days.  That stretch will be highlighted by a huge game: Andy Reid’s return to the Linc with the Kansas City Chiefs on September 19.  How “Big Red” is greeted upon his big return to his former home will surely be the major storyline of that game.

Other highlights include a matchup with the Denver Broncos in the Mile High City on September 29 and versus Aaron Rodgers at the Green Bay Packers on November 10.

The team has a late Week 12 bye, the latest since 2000 when Philadelphia’s bye week feel on Week 16.

NFC East action continues after the opener on October 10 against the Cowboys at the Linc, with the regular season ending at Dallas on December 29.

Ready to make your predictions?  I’ve seen some out there.  But for now, here’s the full schedule for your perusal:

How much longer until September 9?  Oh wait.  Nevermind.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

The Ron Jaworski Interview: Why Chip Kelly Will be a Success in the NFL and Why the Philadelphia Eagles Need Mike Vick

Monday, February 25th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski is a man who needs no introduction in the City of Philadelphia. But alas, I’ll give it a try.

Jaws, as he is otherwise known, remains one of the most popular sports figures in Philly sports history.  His place in Eagles lore was solidified when he took the 1980 team to Super Bowl XV and was named NFL MVP that year.  He remains active in the area’s sports scene as president and part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul.

Jaworski is a popular fixture on ESPN due to his analysis and insights revealed through hours of film study as well as his affable personality, all of which contributed to Jaws’ role as a commentator on Monday Night Football for five seasons.

Jaws joined me as well as Roy Burton and Kris Domingo of the Broad Street Line podcast to talk Eagles quarterbacks, Chip Kelly, his famous nickname and its connection with the Philadelphia Sixers and an exciting announcement about the Philadelphia Soul.  You’ll also find out the new project that has Jaws feeling like a 31-year old again.

QUESTION:  The Philadelphia Eagles are in the midst of a lot of transition, with Chip Kelly being the first new head coach in 14 seasons. We’ve had a chance to hear from Kelly briefly, but obviously there are so many questions about what he’s planning to do. What qualities make you believe that he can succeed as a head coach in the NFL, and specifically with the Eagles?

Jaws:  First and foremost, Chip Kelly has tremendous football IQ. He understands the game, and he comes from an offensive persuasion. I think in today’s NFL it’s so important that you have your offense in place. It’s a quarterback’s game. The quarterback is the most important player on the team. He is the heartbeat of a football team. So that’s one situation that Chip Kelly is going to have to clear up for the short-term and the long-term as well.

But what I really like about Chip, and I’ve watched his offense at Oregon for a number of years broken down on tape, tried to figure out what he’s trying to do and it’s very difficult to do that. Even a guy like me who’s a football wonk that studies all the tape–this guy is brilliant. He understands how to beat defenses. And he brings tremendous energy.

I know he is of the offensive persuasion, he cares about quarterback, but what I love is the energy he brings into the room that he will bring to the football team. That’s something you just can’t fabricate. I mean, he loves football and I think quickly the people of Philadelphia will understand that.

QUESTION:  Speaking of quarterbacks, right now there are three in the mix for the Eagles—Mike Vick, of course, Nick Foles and recently Dennis Dixon. Who do you anticipate succeeding the most in Kelly’s spread offense?

Jaws: I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s going to be Michael Vick. In fact, as Chip Kelly was hired I quickly announced that Michael Vick would be the quarterback, much to the chagrin of many people in Philadelphia who felt it was time to move on from Michael Vick and move to Nick Foles, or now we have a Dennis Dixon in the mix or whoever they deem in the draft or via free agency to acquire. But I think when you look at Michael Vick, he has a skill set that fits what Chip Kelly wants to run.  Mobility. The one thing, if you look at the Oregon offense, it’s not about throwing the football. It’s about a quarterback with movement who can run. Michael Vick can do both.

In the NFL it starts with throwing the football first. Mike Vick is still an outstanding passer of the football. We know he can run the football. Yes, he may have lost a couple tenths of a second in his 40 time, he may have gotten beat up a little bit over the past couple years, but even with those things going against Michael Vick he’s still a guy who can give you the burst, give you the big play.  I think he’s the absolute perfect fit for a Chip Kelly offense.

Then you go to Dennis Dixon, a guy that played with Chip Kelly out of Oregon, understands his system, has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been with the Baltimore Ravens. He understands what it takes to run this system.

Nick Foles is your prototypical NFL pocket passer. I don’t see his style fitting in to what Chip Kelly wants to do. That’s not to take anything away from Nick Foles because I think eventually he is going to be an outstanding NFL quarterback. But he’s not a guy who fits in the type of offense that Chip Kelly wants to run.

QUESTION:  What do you think went wrong with the team last year, specifically? Can we chalk it up to talent or a lack of effort or was there something else going on?

Jaws: When we talk about professional football I never use the term “lack of effort.” I think these are highly skilled professional athletes that are paid to do their very best no matter what the situation is. Now, maybe there were some situations where they lacked the intensity and enthusiasm that we like to see from teams that are contending for a Super Bowl, but I certainly don’t think the Eagles would fall into the category of a team that lacked effort. Andy Reid got the best out of his football team.

When you look at last season’s 4-12 record, you have to go back to two years ago when the team struggled at 4-8. I believe going 8-8 masked their deficiencies. They were not a good football team at 4-8, they got their season to 8-8, Andy Reid got another shot but it was clear to me that there were problems within the football team that they needed to make changes. Those changes were not made, consequently the team comes back, suffers some very serious injuries–there’s no question of that–the offensive line was decimated and yes you did lose Michael Vick, your starting quarterback, for a number of games. But I look at this Eagles team now, this downfall where they won only four games this year, eight the year before, 12-20 over the last two years. This started a couple years ago. So clearly, I think all of the changes were mandated by a 12-20 record so time to move in another direction, and they are.

QUESTION: Is it true that Sixers’ current head coach Doug Collins gave you the nickname Jaws?

Jaws: That is correct! Doug Collins was my next door neighbor when he was playing for the Sixers and I was playing for the Eagles and he came up with the nickname Jaws. Now, most people think it was because the movie “Jaws” was very popular in the early 80s, but Doug said every time he saw me my jaws were always flapping so he gave me the nickname Jaws and it has stuck ever since.

QUESTION:  We all know and admire your analysis on ESPN but you’re working on a new project that’s pretty close to home, as it’s about your health.  You found relief from arthritis pain with a product called Stopain. Did your time playing football exacerbate your pain? Tell us a little about how you found your way to the product.

Jaws: I’m a 61-year old guy who played professional football for 17 years and 25 years total playing the game so when you get to be 61 there are some bumps and bruises that act up every now and then. Like most guys my age we’re looking for something that will provide us with some immediate relief and I found that in Stopain.

Before I got involved in the company I actually tried the product for months. I wanted to be sure that it worked, that it did help stop pain, that it allowed me to play golf, it allowed me to move freely, that it deeply penetrated my joints. It allowed me to swing the golf club, walk the golf course for 18 holes. Stopain had a remarkable turnaround in my life as far as being athletic and wanting to move and doing all of the things that I have to do at this age.

QUESTION: You’re part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul. We heard that you had some news that you wanted to share about the Soul. Is there anything you’d like to tell us?

Jaws:  There are so many great things happening with the Philadelphia Soul right now. Our training camp opens on March 2. We open our season in Arizona, which will be a replay of the Arena Bowl championship of a year ago in New Orleans. Philadelphia unfortunately lost that game to Arizona but we have a tremendous football team. We are very, very excited about bringing a championship back to Philadelphia. In 2008 we won the Arena Bowl championship and we kind of felt that we remained the team that everybody looked up to. Of course, a few months later the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series and we feel that we removed the jinx of William Penn in the City of Philadelphia.

We feel very strongly about what we’ve been able to bring in terms of competitive football and championship football to Philadelphia. I think one of the really cool things that our ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul—Marty Judge, myself, Craig Spencer, Cosmo DeNicola, Pete Ciarrochi–we’re taking arena football to China. You heard me correct. We are taking not National Football League to China, the Arena Football League under the direction of our ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul is going to China. We are the only organization in football that is going to be playing football in China this fall. It’s very, very exciting.

****

I know you’re sorry it’s over but I have good news for you—it actually isn’t. Be sure to catch the full interview tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26 at 6 pm via The Broad Street Line podcast for more from Jaws, including his thoughts on other quarterbacks around the league.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Newsflash: Mike Vick’s Not Changing

Monday, February 18th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Vick. Not changin’.
(Image via NJ.com)

The news that broke one week ago today – that Mike Vick had restructured his deal to extend his stay with the Philadelphia Eagles – was met by strong reaction by the team’s fans.  As usual when Vick is concerned, emotions fell on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Toss out Vick along with Andy Reid and the dishwater.  If we are truly in rebuilding mode, let’s start with something new.  Let’s see what we have in Nick Foles.

Conversely, there are those who blame Reid and Marty Morhinweg and their horrific play calling as well as a cobbled-together offensive line in Vick’s recent struggles with the Birds.  Philadelphia signed him because of what makes him dynamic, then wanted him to turn into something that he’s not.  Let Vick be Vick!  With a healthy o-line and more balance with the run game, Vick can help this team to succeed.

The debate will continue to rage this offseason among fans, but one thing we know about Vick – sooner or later he lets you know exactly where he stands.  In an interview on Saturday with 97.5 The Fanatic, Vick made clear that he likes who he is as a person and a player and has no intention of changing who he is.

“Well if you think about what I endured [last season] and how many hits I took, I stayed upright for seven games and took about 180 hits.  I am going to train the way I train, I’m not going to change anything.  I’m going to be who I am and I’m not going to change.  I think everybody just has to accept it.  I am going to put in all the hard work to be the best player I can be, but it’s not just about me.  It’s about team, it’s about unity, it’s about everybody playing together.  That’s the only way we’re  going to win.”

C’mon.  Regardless of which side of the issue you reside those comments can’t really surprise you, can they?

Part of the challenge facing Chip Kelly this offseason is making an honest assessment of what he has at quarterback inVick, Nick Foles, and Dennis Dixon.  What are truly their strengths and how can they be played up in Kelly’s offense?

We saw with Andy Reid’s time in Philadelphia with Vick that trying to turn the quarterback into a pure pocket passer simply will not work.  And what do you do about the risky decision making that so often leads Vick to injury?  If Kelly is to keep Vick and make him a starter (which remains to be seen), he has to accept him as he is – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Another great offseason of film study is not going to transform the polarizing player into something that he is not.

And therein lies the reason for concern among so many Eagles fans.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Mike Vick to Stay with the Philadelphia Eagles After Reaching One-Year Deal

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

Like it or not, Mike Vick will have another chance with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Monday was supposed to be a day to put the spotlight on Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and his coaching staff.  Instead, Mike Vick stole the show.

Not literally.  The quarterback was not present at the press conference.  But word of his restructured contract to come to a one-year deal worth $10 million with the team dominated the day’s headlines and news cycle.

The question of Vick versus Nick Foles still remain and indeed, we will have to see if other factors at QB enter the equation.  But for now, despite what many anticipated, as we head into mid-February both Vick and Foles remain on Philadelphia’s roster.

And Kelly said to get used to having both names on the roster.  He expects both men to be with the Eagles come the start of the season and that it is an open competition for who starts under center.

“There is an open competition.  Michael knows that.  Nick knows that.  Nick knew every step of the way what we were doing.  I wanted to make sure Nick was included in the plans, and I think both of them have outstanding qualities in terms of being quarterbacks in this league.  Both of them have started in this league.

So I also know in this league, you better have two, so I’m excited about the two of them.  They’re both going to compete.  And who the starting quarterback is to start the season off is going to be won on the practice field.”

Yes, the offensive line was decimated in 2012.  But Vick’s play was decidedly lackluster.  Or downright awful, depending who you ask.  So what convinced Kelly that the quarterback could be a good option for the team in 2013?

“I think in terms of Michael, we look at everything.  What I look at is skillset first and foremost.  What he can do, how he can throw the football, how he can beat people with his feet.  There are a lot of different factors he has.  And you have to look at the landscape for other quarterbacks.

I guess the best way I can put this is I agree there is a change of scenery going on here.  For Michael Vick, there is a change of scenery, but not a change of address.”

In reality, none of the options for the Eagles are ideal.  Many assumed that Vick would go the way of Andy Reid come the close of the season.  But where would that have left the team?  With a quarterback in Foles who shows promise but whose ability to lead a team is still largely unknown.  Dennis Dixon makes sense to give a try, as he is the only NFL quarterback with experience in Kelly’s offense.  Alex Smith has got to be an intriguing option for Philadelphia and a host of other teams around the league but are the Eagles willing to pay the steep price he will surely command on the open market?  And with no slam dunk options at QB in this year’s draft, what’s a head coach to do?

Despite being fed up with the team at the end of the season (and let’s be honest, who wasn’t at that point?), Vick is thrilled to have a chance to remain in midnight green.

“I am grateful and proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle.  My heart is in Philly and this community is important to me.  I look forward to playing for Coach Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie and the entire Eagles organization, the city of Philadelphia and the fans.  I am training hard this offseason and will be ready for Coach Kelly’s team vision and leadership.  Our goal is to win.”

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Are the Days of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 4-3 Defense Numbered?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

A new head coach means that change is afoot everywhere with the Philadelphia Eagles organization.  There are huge questions surrounding the supporting cast that will surround Chip Kelly.  It appears that the offensive coordinator piece is in place, with former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur reportedly joining on with the Eagles.

The move marks Shurmur’s return to Philadelphia, who worked as an assistant under Andy Reid for 10 seasons, as first the tight ends coach from 1999 to 2001 and as quarterbacks coach through 2008.  The NFL experience and familiarity with the Eagles organization makes the appeal of the move somewhat understandable, but Shurmur’s reported role is just one small step in a series that Kelly needs to install.  And quickly.

Among other questions, all eyes are focused on Kelly’s plan for the defense and who will be named as the defensive coordinator.  One change that may be afoot with that move is a change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.  Reid quickly changed defensive schemes in his new position in Kansas City, and it sounds like the move is something that the team is seriously considering.

According to GM Howie Roseman,

“What we do when we have have our meetings is make sure we are talking about guys in different schemes. As you can see, Andy [Reid] went to a 3-4 in Kansas City and he’s always talking about versatility.  In the last year or two we’ve been talking about getting versatile players.  When we have our first meetings in December we’re making sure that we’re talking about them in both schemes on defense and what they can do in different schemes so that if we were to make a transition, we could do that more readily.”

Roseman’s words, of course, by no means indicate that a move is imminent.  But as the Eagles are examining everything from draft strategy to coaching staff, it’s another option that’s on the table.  Particularly as the team’s once legendary defense has faltered considerably in recent seasons, the Birds are considering every possibility that may help it’s new leader succeed.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports