THE MATURATION OF THE MOBILE QUARTERBACK IN THE NFL

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     The NFL always seems to be a sport that evolves as the years go by and today’s athletes are no different.  Athletes of past and present share one thing in common and that is their desire to win and their commitment to staying in shape and being the best at their respective position.  The Quarterback Position has long been considered the most difficult one to succeed with in the NFL.  Not only is it the most difficult, but it is also the most important one on the Football Field.  With the emergence of better athletes in sports today in general, due to technology and better training, many styles of play have elevated to adapt to the change in strategy.  No position in sports has evolved more than the Quarterback Position in the NFL.

     Since the inception of the NFL in August of 1920, there have been countless star players that have left their mark on the league and entertained fans all over the world.  The NFL Hall of Fame enshrines the NFL’s best of the best.  The HOF is composed of players, coaches, owners, and key contributors.  As of 2013, there are over 280 members in the NFL Hall of Fame, with over 30 of those members being Quarterbacks.  When we think Quarterback, we think passing yards, touchdown passes, interceptions, wins, playoff wins, and Super Bowls.  However, as the game has evolved so has the Quarterback Position.  The classic “Drop Back” Quarterback that was the norm is now a thing of the past.  Slowly but surely, the NFL Quarterback has become a dual threat.  Now when taking a look at this dual threat, which can be described as the word “mobile-meaning able to escape and extend plays”, there are a few different styles that have developed.

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     The mobile quarterback has went through numerous style changes as well as philosophical changes.  When looking back at the history of “mobile’ Quarterbacks, we think of Fran Tarkenton, Bobby Douglass, Tobin Rote and Roger Staubach as being the best of the early ones.  Tobin Rote was a Quarterback for the Green Bay Packers during the 1950’s.  Rote led the NFL in Rushing Yards by a Quarterback six times (1951,1954-1958) and his 37 Rushing Touchdowns rank sixth on the all-time list of signal callers.  What was even more incredible about Rote was that he actually led his team in rushing 3x, in a time when running the ball was a grind it out 3.0 Yards Per Carry, cloud of dust down your throat approach.  He also led his team in Rushing Touchdowns 5x.  The two time pro Bowler is still the only Quarterback to lead an AFL and NFL team to a championship.  Image    Fran Tarkenton was the first “True Running” Quarterback.  Nicknamed the “Mad Scrambler,” Tarkenton was a player ahead of his time.  Tarkenton produced 3,674 Rushing Yards along with 32 Rushing Touchdowns during what was known as the NFL’s “STATUE” era of Quarterbacks.  Statue refers to the drop back inn the pocket and wait until someone came open or throw the ball away style.  Tarkenton is fourth in all-time Quarterback Rushing Yards behind Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, and Steve Young.  Tarkenton was also lethal through the air.  He lead the Minnesota Vikings to three Super Bowls during his time there.  His Passing Stats were among the best when he retired from the NFL in 1981, and stood as records at the time.  Image

     Other Quarterbacks were “mobile” and fleet on their feet as the game evolved.  The Patriots Steve Grogan was also considered a great escape artist of his time.  During his career, he compiled 2,176 Rushing Yards and 36 Rushing Touchdowns.  Grogan held the NFL record for Rushing Touchdowns by a Quarterback with (12) up until two years ago when the Carolina Panther’s Rookie Cam Newton rushed for 14 Scores.  1978 was his best all around season as far as rushing when he had 539 Yards and 5 Touchdowns.  There was also Bobby Douglass, the former Chicago Bears standout.  In 1972, Douglass rushed for a single season record of 968 Rushing Yards for a Quarterback while scoring 8 Touchdowns on only 141 Carries.  Michael Vick has since broke Bobby’s record, however Bobby set the record in a 14 game season, two less than Vick and averaged 69.1 Yards Per Game.  There were also other Quarterbacks that made their mark as being “mobile” including Doug Flutie, Greg Landry, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett, Vince Evans, Daunte Culpepper, and Kenny Anderson.

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    In 1985, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Randall Cunningham in the second round.  Randall Cunningham would change the Quarterback position forever taking “mobile” to the next level.  During Randall’s career, he amassed 4,982 yards Rushing on 775 Carries, a 6.4 Yards Per Carry Average and 35 Rushing Touchdowns.  Cunningham’s star power as a dual threat with both rushing and passing earned him the nickname “The Ultimate Weapon.”  During his career, Cunningham also won 2 MVP Awards and he single handedly carried the Eagles for most of his time there due to the lack of a supporting cast and a weak Offensive Line.  In 1990, Randall rushed for 924 Yards and scored 5 Touchdowns with an astronomical 8.0 Yards Per Carry Average.  However, not only could Cunningham run the ball, but he could also air it out with the best of them.  He actually threw a ball over 80 yards in the air in practice which may still be a record.  He even punted the ball a record 92 Yards in one game showing just how athletic he was.  But the most impressive thing about that 1990 season was that along with the 924 Yards/5TDS Rushing, he also threw 30 Touchdowns and only 13 Interceptions, for 3,466 Yards with a long of 95 Yards.  That 95 Yard pass came in a game against the Buffalo Bills, where he miraculously made Bruce Smith miss a sack and safety, and he scrambled to the entire other side of the end zone, finally heaving a bomb that Fred Barnett caught at the 50 Yard Line, which he took for a Touchdown.

     There is no telling how good Randall could have been if he was surrounded with more talent.  He also had Buddy Ryan as a head coach which knew as much about offense as I do about Algebra, and that is very little.  Cunningham was also injured for two entire seasons, as he tore both ACL’s in two different seasons.  Later in his career, Cunningham joined the Minnesota Vikings where he had his best season as a pro.  During that 1998 Season, Randall compiled a 13-1 Record, while Throwing for 3,704 Yards, 34 Touchdowns (career high), also chipping in 132 Yards Rushing and 2 Rushing Touchdowns.  A few Quarterbacks have since passed Cunningham’s records but there may never be an athlete like him again, just saying.

     After Randall, many other great Quarterbacks were able to use both threats on the field.  Steve Young, who still holds the Career Passer Rating Record for Quarterbacks, also chipped in an amazing 4,239 Yards Rushing, 43 Rushing Touchdowns and a 6.0 Yards Per Carry Average.  He was the first of the dual threat Quarterbacks of this era to lead his team to a Championship.  This has always been the argument that “mobile” or “running” quarterbacks cannot win Super Bowls.  Well, I think Young proved that theory wrong.  However, I will say that the Quarterback needs to still primarily star through the air.  Young was probably the most efficient at both.  John Elway was also a master of the escape and extending plays with his legs.  Actually, this is sometimes a forgotten part of his game.  Elway in his career rushed for 3,417 Yards and 33 Touchdowns on 774 Carries, second only to Cunningham.  He also is the post season leader in Rushing by a Quarterback with 461 Yards Rushing and Six Touchdowns.  His Four Rushing Touchdowns in a Super Bowl is an NFL record. During the past two decades, there have been other great dual threats including Steve McNair, Vince Young and Kordell Stewart, otherwise known as “Slash.”  

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     Ironically, in 1998 the same year that Randall Cunningham was having his resurgence with the Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles once again drafted a “dual threat” running Quarterback in Donovan McNabb.  Well, he was booed at the Draft Event by over 100 Philly Boo Birds.  McNabb quickly silenced his critics as he became the Starting Quarterback later that season.  During his career as the Eagles starting Quarterback, he ammassed 3,459 Rushing Yards and 29 Rushing Touchdowns.  In another cruel twist of fate, McNabb spent much of his time in Philly carrying the Eagles solely on his shoulders, due to lack of talent around him, especially at Wide Receiver.  In 2004, the one season when McNabb was given a Top Receiver in Terrell Owens, he took the team to the Super Bowl, coming a field goal short of the Eagle’s first Championship.  Donovan McNabb was a more dynamic player than Cunningham ever was, although Cunningham was a better pure athlete.  McNabb threw 217 touchdowns and 117 Interceptions along with 37,276 Yards Passing.  McNabb never wanted to be known as a running quarterback, constantly refuting debates and maintaining that he wanted to be considered a pocket passer.  However, there is no denying that his skills on the ground gave him a better chance of winning and enhanced his NFL career.

     Then we have Mike Vick.  Mike Vick is almost the opposite of McNabb on the spectrum.  Vick, who is still playing while his career winds down has the NFL record in basically every Rushing Quarterback Stat.  He has 5,859 Yards Rushing, 36 Touchdowns (2nd to Young) and a 7.1 YPC Average.  He has also thrown for over 21,000 yards and 128 Touchdowns.  The thing we cannot forget is that Vick missed three seasons while he was in prison after being convicted for dog fighting.  Vick was the fastest of all of the Quarterbacks as he can run a 4.3 40 YARD DASH.  He probably has the best escapability of any Quarterback in history.

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     In today’s NFL, we have a new wave of mobile “Dual-Threat” Quarterbacks.  These Quarterbacks have seemed to use Running as their second option, however having the threat makes them extremely dangerous.  The next generation “mobile” quarterback uses the pass to set up the run as opposed to the traditional style.  As the Quarterback position continues to evolve, there will be more records to come and go, more standards to set, and hopefully more championships.  The best of the best Dual-Threat Quarterbacks today are RGIII, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Colin Kapernick, Terrelle Pryor, Alex Smith, Jake Locker, Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Of these Quarterbacks, the best right now are Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.  Cam Newton is only in his third season.  In his 1st Season, he passed for 4,051 Yards and 21 Touchdowns while adding 706 Yards Rushing and an NFL Record 14 Rushing Touchdowns.  So far in less than 3 seasons, Cam has thrown 59 Touchdowns/40 Interceptions, 10,536 Yards, for an 86.1 Rating.  More impressive though are his rushing stats.  He already has 28 Rushing Touchdowns, 1894 Yards Rushing and a 5.7 YARDS PER CARRY AVERAGE.  The other standouts are RGIII, Russel Wilson, and Colin Kapernick.  Terelle Pryor of the Raiders has come on strong this season leading all Quarterbacks in Rushing up to this point.

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     In conclusion, there has been a major renaissance in the “mobile” Quarterback in today’s game.  It seems that more importance has been put on developing skills in both passing the ball and running it.  Wether it is to escape on coming sack artists, buying more time till a receiver gets open, or extending a play or making a broken play into a gain, these skills are wide spread in today’s NFL.  So, Randall Cunningham, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young and even Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick were ahead of their time.  Today’s mobile Quarterback is much different.  They excel at both sides but they have a better idea when to use which.  As the seasons go on, it should be interesting to see how this phenomenon continues to change in front of our eyes.  Until next time, enjoy your weekend.  Looking for some feedback on this post so feel free to join.

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NFL WEEK 8 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT

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     Week #8 of the NFL Season provided more than it’s share of story lines and highlights.  First of all…Did I read the Box Score correctly?  Did my eyes truly see what my brain dictates?  Any fan of the NFL has to know where I am going with this.  Yesterday we not only witnessed history, but we also witnessed what is referred to as “MEGATRON.”  The Dallas Cowboys-Detroit Lions Game from yesterday will be an instant classic forever.  First of all, it was amazing enough to witness Calvin Johnson haul in Fourteen Passes for 329 RECEIVING YARDS.  By the way, his 329 Yards was the second highest single game total to the Ram’s Flipper Anderson’s 336 Yards, and that game went to overtime.  But what made yesterday’s game even more impressive was the circumstances, the pre game drama/hype, Dez Bryant’s circus act on the sideline, the Cowboy’s almost near win, and the last minute comeback that was lead by the Lion’s Matt Stafford.  

     Calvin’s 14th Reception was indiciative of the way the entire game went.  Calvin began the day with an 87 Yard Reception.  He had six catches of over 20 Yards on the day.  He only scored one touchdown but barely missed two more.  He lost a fumble while going in the end zone and also was tackled at the one on the last drive, before Quarterback Matt Stafford punched in the winning touchdown on the ground, with fourteen seconds left.  Pretty ironic eh…14 Receptions for Calvin Johnson and the Game Winning Touchdown was scored with fourteen seconds left…just saying.  On the day, Johnson single handedly had more yards on offense than Dallas, Washington, Minnesota, Miami, New England, New York Giants and Jets, Philly, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay had all day.  He also had more receiving yards than all but three quarterbacks had passing (Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Matt Stafford…his own lol.)  Finally, take note that this was Johnson’s Sixth 200 Yard Receiving Game in only his past 27 Games.  The Great Randy Moss only had ONE 200 yard game ever in fifteen years!  There have only been four receivers to ever eclipse 300 Yards Receiving and two of them are Johnson and Anderson.

     I hate to focus on this one game, but its hard not to after watching history.  The Cowboys came into the game leading the NFC least and would go two games up on Philly with a win.  We will get to Philly next.  Dez Bryant, the Cowboys stud receiver, had yapped earlier in the week that he could do anything Calvin could do.  Well, I guess Johnson made hime eat crow.  Bryant had an excellent game for any receiver’s standards, over 125 Yards Receiving and two touchdowns.  However, Bryant was shown that he is no Decepticon.  And Calvin Johnson did all of this without showboating or any other kind of bravado.  In contrast, Bryant was observed yelling numerous times at Quarterback Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and the coach.  Bryant was carrying on for some reason, I guess he did not like getting upstaged by Johnson after he talked all of that smack.  Anyways, Bryant is good but he also had another receiver, Terrance Williams go for 100 Yards and a score, and the Cowboy’s star Tight End Jason Witten was double teamed nearly the entire game, giving Bryant many one on one opportunities.  Wow…what a game, they will be talking and writing about this performance for decades.

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     Ok, 10 in a row.  What does that stand for you ask?  10 Straight Home Losses for the Philadelphia Eagles would have been the correct answer.  Yes, the Eagles lost their tenth straight home game, which has to even more show how futile this team is right now.  Already down Nick Foles with a concussion, Michael Vick left the game in the Second Quarter with another injury.  It is not known how long that Vick will be out.  However, one thing that is known is that Matt Barclay is nowhere near the Quarterback of the future for this team.  The Eagles came into this season with high hopes and expectations after the firing of Andy Reid and the hiring of Chip Kelly.  Well, who would have known that Kelly’s Eagles would be 3-5 and sinking fast, while Andy Reids’ Chiefs are 8-0, atop the AFC.  Kansas City is trying to go from worst to first.  Forget that Andy Reid had to be let go.  This has to be stinging Eagles fans to the core, seeing Reid coach a team with a mediocre Quarterback to a perfect record.  Well, I have ONE WORD…Defense.  The Chiefs have the best and the Eagles have the worst.  I do not care how good your offense is, without a Defense you will fail.

     Let’s put this in perspective.  The last time the Eagles won a game at home was 383 Days ago, when they beat the New York Giants.  The last eight Game home losing streak for the Birds was 70 years ago!!  As mentioned on Comcast Sports Net in Philly, 142 Million Babies have been born, 35.6 Million Commercial Airlines have flown and landed, Peyton Manning has thrown 49 Touchdowns and the Sixers have made over 518 Three Pointers.  Wow.  This has gotten ugly.  And in case you have not noticed, this team is getting better no time fast.  They are going no where on a freight train, this train has totally gone off the track.  The Eagles will be lucky to finish .500 this year while the Kansas City Chiefs are on their way to the Playoffs.  Playoffs?  Are we talking about playoffs?  Yes Andy Reid is on the road to victory.  As the high flying Eagles have been grounded. 

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     Let’s take a look at some off the other highlights of yesterday pass.  Drew Brees threw for 300 Yards and 5 Touchdowns as the Saints rolled to another win to go to 6-1.  The 49ers smoked the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.  And no, it was not raining this game.  The Denver Broncos scored 38 unanswered points as they demolished the Washington Redskins.  Peyton Manning once again had 300 yards passing and threw four touchdowns.  He even uncharacteristicaly threw 3 Interceptions.  The Bengal’s other wide receiver not named AJ Green had four touchdown receptions.  Yes thats right…Marvin Jones their third receiver had four scores.  Quarterback Andy Dalton had five total touchdown passes, tying a career high.  So, last week was the week of injuries and this week was the week of infamy.  The Miami Dolphins jumped out to a 17-3 lead against the New England Patriots before crumbling to the ground.  They also lost star wideout Brandon Gibson for the season.  Man there have been a shit ton of injuries in the past two weeks, especially at wide receiver.  

     Green Bay smoked the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.  They actually ran for three scores.  Washington lost RG III to an injury once again.  The Bronco’s lost star Tight End Julius Thomas to a foot injury, but it was confirmed today that there are no major issues and he should be back.  New orleans Saint’s Tight End Jimmy Graham had two touchdowns on one leg.  Matt Stafford ran in the game winning score to sink the Cowboys after faking a spike and waltzing into the end zone, a la Dan Marino.  The Chiefs remained unbeaten.  There were so many incredible moments Sunday, I am sure I have missed some.  Frank Gore had two  more touchdowns to take the league leading rushing total to eight.  Gore is also third in rushing yards.  

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     In conclusion, Sunday was a record setting day for the Detroit Lions.  Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson were a two man wrecking ball.  Dez Bryant needs to eat more wheaties because he just got punk’d. And then we had the Baseball Game.  For the second night in a row, the World Series ended in a way that had never been saw before.  The previous night, the Saint Louis Cardinals had been awarded the win as the winning run was tagged out at home after obstruction by the third baseman.  HUH??? Yes, this is actually a rule.  And then last night, with one on and no one out, Carlos Beltran (one of the all-time greatest post season hitters) up to bat, and the baserunner is picked off at first to end the game.

     *****STAY TUNED AS I WILL HAVE MY WEEK NINE PICKS AND FANTASY STUDS/DUDS********************

MANNING MAN HANDLES PHILLY@#@%@#%@#%@

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ImageDAVID AND GOLIATH WAS NO CONTEST….THE BRONCOS (GOLIATH) COMPLETELY DESTROYED THE BIRDS.  PEYTON MANNING IS SUPERMAN………ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER BLOWOUT!Image

ImageWHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SUNDAY”S MARQUEE NFL MATCHUP TURNED OUT TO BE ANOTHER NO CONTEST.  These games are becoming all to familiar with any team that faces the Denver Broncos these days.  On Sunday, Peyton Manning threw another 4 Touchdown Passes, which gives him 16 TD’s in only Four Games.  Even more Impressive is the fact that he has yet to throw an interception.  Peyton man handled the Philadelphia Eagles.  No matter what the Eagles defense scheme was, Manning had an answer.  The Eagles stacked Eight Men in the Box and blitzed and Manning threw the quick out.  The Eagles played zone and Manning picked them apart over the middle.  The Bronco’s Trindon Holiday, one of the premier Return Men in the game, even ran back a 105 Yard Kickoff Return for a score.  Hell…The Bronco’s even converted a blocked punt into a score.

    Yesterday I posted about the Eagles chances of beating the Bronco’s and what they would have to do to have success.  #1) Put Pressure on Manning…Check.  Well, the Eagles did anything but put pressure on Peyton as he looked like a statue back in the pocket.  #2) Run the Ball and slow down the game…Check.  Well, the Eagles had their lowest rushing total of the season and the Time of Possession was a joke.  #3) Change the Game plan Chip Kelly-Make Adjustments…Check.  My suspicion was right as Chip Kelly didn’t adjust and continued to try and run the “Oregon Duck” to the T.  Whats wrong with this picture right now folks.  Andy Reid and the Chiefs are 4-0 and the Eagles are 1-3.  It makes you really wonder was the Eagles problem really Andy Reid.  Look, I am in no way saying that a change was not needed.  However, I don’t care what type of offensive scheme you use…West Coast, Read Option, Run and Shoot, RUN, Play Action, No Huddle, Hurry Up, Roll Out, Shotgun.  None of these schemes will work when your team does not have the personnel to execute.

     First of all…the Eagles could play the Jacksonville Jaguars right now and still have trouble winning a game.  The fact is, this Defense is absolutely Putrid.  That is putting it lightly.  OK…THIS DEFENSE SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes I said it.  The Eagles Defense, which used to be the backbone of this team in all of their successful seasons may be the worst I have ever saw.  They could cut everyone on this Defense and start over for all that I am concerned.  The Eagles have plenty of star power on Offense.  Mike Vick can be a star when he has time to throw the ball.  LeSean McCoy is one of the most dynamic running backs in the game.  DeSean Jackson “DJAX” is a highlight film in the making.  However, this offensive line is putrid just like the defense.  When will Jeff Lurie realize that the problem on this team is personnel.  I do not care if you had Bill Bellicheck coaching this team…I don’t care if you had Mike Ditka coaching this team…John Madden Anyone???  Yeah.

     I am a huge fan of Chip Kelly.  I am even more enamored with the “Oregon Duck” offensive scheme.  However, what this team lacks is tenacity.  And they truly cannot defend my grand mom…God rest her soul.  In the offseason, I made it a cry out for the Eagles to go against the Grain and sign a Defensive Minded Coach.  This team needs to learn the fundamentals of the game such as tackling, pass rushing, audibles, etc.  The amazing thing is…if the Eagles had the Bears 85 Defense…they still would have got their ASS KICKED yesterday.  Peyton Manning now has 16 Touchdowns/0 Interceptions/1400 Yards Passing…and most importantly his team is 4-0.  Manning is on pace to have 64 Touchdowns this season…can you say WOWWWWWWWWW!  Knowshon Moreno has been very serviceable in the backfield as he scored a Touchdown yesterday as well.

     The most glaring mistake that I saw yesterday was the inability of Chip Kelly to adjust his game plan.  Sound familiar???  What is it with all of these high profile coaches and their egos?  Note to Chip…If you can slow the game down then it will limit the amount of time that Manning is on the field which in turn will limit his damage.  But no Chip…you keep doing the same thing with all of your different packages, no huddle, hurry up, shot gun, etc.  You have LeSean McCoy!!!  He should have had at least 30 Touches in the game yesterday.  Oh well…it appears that Peyton Manning is going out on top while the precious Birds are getting a crash course in growing pains.  Look, no one significant expected the Eagles to make the playoff this year.  However, in this NFC least they still very well could do that as bad as this division is.  The thing is though, if they do not adjust the game plan, especially during a game, then they will fail every time.  Meanwhile, as a FOOTBALL fan, we all can just marvel at the man named PEYTON MANNING.  Peyton is the MAN right now.  He is putting up ridiculous stats  right now.  The Broncos could go undefeated.  They are the best team in the league hands down.  So Eagles, now it is off to New York to face the 0-4 New York Giants who want blood.  So…as we look back and move forward…we know this team is a long way from competing with the big boys.  Stay tuned tomorrow as I recap Week 4 in the NFL and analyze the winners and losers in Fantasy Football.  Enjoy this beautiful Monday Folks…HOLLA.

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OREGON DUCKS NFL STYLE

    OK…SO THE CHIP KELLY ERA WITH THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON MONDAY EVENING IN WASHINGTON.  EVERYONE THAT HAS SAW ANY TYPE OF GAME FOOTAGE FROM CHIP’S DAYS AT OREGON, WHERE HE MADE THE DUCKS A PERENNIAL POWERHOUSE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, HAS SAW HOW CHIP’S STYLE OF OFFENSE CAN COMPLETELY DOMINATE A FOOTBALL GAME.  HOWEVER, THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION WAS HOW HIS “SPREAD” OFFENSE WOULD TRANSITION INTO THE NFL.  UNLIKE COLLEGE, WHERE THERE IS AN UNLIMITED AMOUNT OF PLAYERS TO USE IN AN ENTIRE GAME…AND ALSO WHERE THE DROP OFF FROM STARTER TO RESERVE IS NOT THAT LARGE, THE NFL HAS A LIMITED ROSTER AND THE DROP OFF FROM THE STAR PLAYERS TO THE RESERVES IS ENORMOUS.  MOREOVER, THE EAGLES DID NOT TIP OFF ANY SECRETS DURING THE PRESEASON AS THEY RAN A MORE TRADITIONAL OFFENSE.

     SO MONDAY NIGHT WAS A MONUMENTAL NIGHT, NOT ONLY FOR THE EAGLES, BUT ALSO FOR THE NFL.  THROUGHOUT HISTORY, THERE HAVE BEEN MANY DIFFERENT OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE SCHEMES THAT HAVE COME TO FRUITION.  WE HAD BILL WALSH, THE FATHER OF THE “WEST COAST OFFENSE”, THAT WAS CREATED DURING THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS DOMINANCE IN THE EIGHTIES THROUGH THE NINETIES.  SO MANY COACHES AROUND THE LEAGUE OF THE PAST AND PRESENT WERE BY PRODUCTS OF THAT OFFENSIVE STYLE AND WERE GROOMED BY WALSH.  MIKE HOLMGREN, JOHN GRUDEN, ANDY REID, RAY RHOADS, AND STEVE MARIUCCI ARE JUST A FEW THAT COME TO MIND.  WE ALSO HAD THE “RUN AND SHOOT” WITH THE HOUSTON OILERS AND BUFFALO BILLS OF THE LATE EIGHTIES AND EARLY NINETIES.  THEN WE HAD THE SAINT LOUIS RAMS, BEHIND KURT WARNER, MARSHALL FAULK, TORY HOLT, AND MORE THAT BROUGHT THE RUN AND SHOOT TO A NEW LEVEL WITH MORE OF  A “HURRY-UP” OFFENSE.  HOWEVER, NONE OF THESE OFFENSES COME CLOSE TO THE COMPLEXITY OF CHIP KELLY’S “SPREAD OFFENSE”…OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE OREGON DUCK OFFENSE.

     LAST NIGHT THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES KEPT WASHINGTON’S DEFENSE ON ITS TOES AND KEPT FANS ON THE EDGE OF THEIR SEATS FROM THE FIRST SNAP.  DURING THE FIRST HALF, THE EAGLES OFFENSE RAN 53 PLAYS WHICH WAS THE MOST IN THE FIRST HALF SINCE THE 1998 VIKINGS, WHO RAN 56 PLAYS.  THE NFL RECORD FOR PLAYS IN A GAME WAS 93, OF WHICH ONLY THREE TEAMS HAVE ACCOMPLISHED.  THE NFL AVERAGE IN 2012 FOR OFFENSIVE PLAYS WAS 64.  THE PATRIOTS LEAD THE LEAGUE WITH 74.  THE EAGLES ENDED THE GAME WITH 77 TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS, NOT BAD FOR AN OFFENSE ON IT’S FIRST GAME TOGETHER.  THE EAGLES ACTUALLY RAN 19 OFFENSIVE PLAYS BEFORE RGIII EVEN TOOK THE FIELD.  OF COURSE, THERE WAS A CONTROVERSIAL TURNOVER ON THE FIRST DRIVE OF THE GAME, WHERE MICHAEL VICK WAS CALLED FOR A FUMBLE THAT THE REDSKINS PICKED UP AND RAN BACK FOR A TOUCHDOWN.  THIS CHIP KELLY OFFENSE WAS SO FAST PACED, NOT ONLY USING NO HUDDLE AND HURRY-UP TECHNIQUES, BUT ASLO MULTIPLE FORMATIONS AND SPREADS.  AT ONE POINT, THE EAGLES LEFT AND RIGHT TACKLES WERE FLANKED OUT WIDE AS RECEIVERS WITH THREE DOWN LINEMAN AND MICHAEL VICK IN THE SHOTGUN.  I AM NOT SURE I HAVE EVER SAW ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN MY TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS OF WATCHING NFL FOOTBALL.

     SO EAGLES FANS AND PLAYERS ALIKE HAD TO BE THRILLED WITH WHAT THEY SAW LAST NIGHT.  JUST IMAGINE IF THE EAGLES HAD MORE OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, DON’T FORGET THEY ARE MISSING THEIR NUMBER ONE RECEIVER JEREMY MACLIN.  ANOTHER CRAZY STAT LAST NIGHT WAS THE FACT THAT THE EAGLES RAN THE BALL 49 TIMES, WHICH WAS THE MOST SINCE 1997.  ANDY REID COACHED THIS TEAM FOR FOURTEEN YEARS AND THE EAGLES NEVER RAN THE BALL THAT MANY TIMES.  IN FACT, UNDER ANDY REID, THE MOST TIMES THE EAGLES EVER RAN THE BALL IN A GAME WAS 37 TIMES AND THAT WAS INCLUDING GAMES THAT DONOVAN MCNABB RAN THE BALL.  LeSEAN McCOY RAN 31 TIMES FOR 184 YARDS WHIUCH WAS ONE SHY OF HIS CAREER HIGH.  AT HALFTIME, THE EAGLES HAD 21 FIRST DOWNS WHICH EQUALED THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF OFFENSIVE PLAYS THAT THE REDSKINS HAD MADE.  DESEAN JACKSON HAD SEVEN CATCHES FOR 104 YARDS AND A TOUCHDOWN, HIS SIXTEENTH 100 YARD PERFORMANCE, WHICH IS ALREADY FIFTH ALL-TIME FOR THE EAGLES IN HIS STILL YOUNG CAREER.  THE GAME ALSO FEATURED A BRENT CELEK TOUCHDOWN AS ANOTHER CALLING CARD OF THE “CHIP STYLE” OFFENSE IS THE FEATURE OF THE TIGHT END.  MICHAEL VICK ALSO RAN FOR A TOUCHDOWN AND DID NOT TURN THE BALL OVER, WHICH WAS HIS FIRST ERROR FREE GAME SINCE HIS 2010 COMEBACK SEASON.

     THE  EAGLES PERFORMANCE DID NOT COME MISTAKE FREE.  THE OFFENSIVE LINE, ALTHOUGH THEY DID LOOK BETTER THAN LAST SEASON, STILL LOOKED SHAKY AT TIMES.  MICHAEL VICK WAS SACKED THREE TIMES AND HIT HARD TEN PLUS TIMES.  SO THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS.  CAN THIS HIGH FLY OFFENSE MAINTAIN SUCCESS THROUGH A BRUTAL 16 GAME SEASON AND POSSIBLE PLAYOFF RUN?  CAN MICHAEL VICK SUSTAIN A HEALTHY SEASON IF THE LINE CANT DO A BETTER JOB IN BLOCKING.  CENTER JASON KELCE, THE EAGLES SMALLEST LINEMAN, ADMITTED TO NEEDING AN OXYGEN MASK WHICH WAS HIS FIRST TIME SINCE COLLEGE.  SO YES, THERE ARE STILL QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW FAR THIS OFFENSE CAN GO BEFORE BURNING OUT.  CAN DESEAN JACKSON, A SMALLER TYPE RECEIVER, REMAIN HEALTHY FOR A SIXTEEN GAME PERIOD?  IN  CONCLUSION, THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN.

     NONETHELESS, THE FIRST GAME OF THE CHIP KELLY ERA PROVIDED EXCELLENT ENTERTAINMENT AND AN EXPLOSIVE OFFENSIVE OUTPUT.  THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR A TEAM THAT HAS WEAPONS SUCH AS THE EAGLES.  MICHAEL VICK, LeSEAN McCOY, AND DESEAN JACKSON PROVIDE THREE DYNAMIC OFFENSIVE PLAYERS THAT CAN PUT UP RECORD NUMBERS IF THEY MAINTAIN SUCCESS.  I AM SURE THAT ONCE THE SEASON GOES ON, WE WILL FIND MORE PLAYERS THAT STEP UP INCLUDING THE TIGHT END’S BRENT CELEK AND ZACK ERTZ.  AND AS HIS REIGN CONTINUES, CHIP WILL BE ABLE TO ADD MORE OF “HIS PLAYERS”, PLAYERS THAT HE KNOWS WILL FIT THIS OFFENSE.  WELL, SO MUCH ABOUT THE OFFENSE HERE…WE CANNOT FORGET ABOUT THE DEFENSE.  ALTHOUGH THE GAME BECAME CLOSE AT THE END, THE EAGLE’S DEFENSE LOOKED MUCH MORE MALIGNED.  THE RUN DEFENSE WAS STELLAR, AS THEY HELD STAR RUNNING BACK ALFRED MORRIS TO UNDER 75 YARDS TOTAL.  THEY ALSO CREATED TWO TURNOVERS, WITH TWO INTERCEPTIONS.  DURING LAST YEAR, THE EAGLES ONLY HAD THIRTEEN TOTAL TURNOVERS.  SO THE DEFENSE GOT A B- GRADE FROM ME.  ALL IN ALL, THE FIRST GAME WAS A HUGE SUCCESS AND GIVES US A GOOD VIEW OF WHAT WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE FROM THE “OREGON DUCK!”  THIS COULD BE EXTREMELY EXCITING AND EXPLOSIVE.  THIS WAS THE MOST FAST TEMPO I HAVE EVER SAW.  STAY TUNED…..ImageImage