Nick Fierro is coming up! Here we are in the dregs of the stupid season in the NFL— the 6 weeks leading up to training camp— and Nick fires out his greatest column ever for the Allentown Morning Call.
Not all of our readers here are big Nick Fierro fans. Afra and Mothra aren't too fond of his schematic critiques. But I saw something in Nick that was bigger than the technical analysis approach— he is an ex-player of the game at the collegiate level, he has a press pass that gets him inside the locker room, and he seems to have a real feel for the professional psyche of the game.
Silly me, I had a retro piece already in the can about the finances of the 1960-era Philadelphia Eagles, and how relatively small the money was back then, until you do as Brizer said and measure the actual spending power of the dollar in 1960.
Let's put it this way: a dollar got you 4 gallons of gas in 1960… and an oil check…and a radiator fluid check… and a windshield cleaned… and a free set of Eagles logo-embroidered drinking glasses.
We'll save that "back-in-the-day" financial look at the NFL for another rainy day.
Here's Fierro in his greatest moment, saving us from a slow news day (apart from the NBA and the NHL)….
10 things the offseason has taught us about the 2013 Eagles thus far
Here are the Top 10 things we learned about the Philadelphia Eagles following all of their offseason minicamps under new head coach Chip Kelly:
10. Size matters. Kelly prefers bigger players than the Eagles used to have at all defensive positions and some offensive positions for the past decade-plus, and no matter what his final personnel decisions are, the cumulative size of the individuals is expected to reflect that preference.
9. Shape matters. With few exceptions, the players already are in game shape. Though Kelly has denied making it a major point of emphasis with his team, the players sensed they had to be at or near their playing weights by May — and they were. Many have lost significant weight. Others have bulked up. All who are still on the roster proved ready for the fast pace of Kelly's practices.
8. Special teams will be a force again. This much is certain, thanks to the solid competition for the punting job between Donnie Jones and Brad Wing, a bigger emphasis on getting the best athletes involved in the return game and overall makeup of roster.
7. Location, location, location. The Eagles are no longer holding training camp away from their premises because they prefer the convenience of staying at their training facility without having to pack everything up and move for three weeks every summer. Will this prevent or retard the bonding process that's necessary for some success? That part we won't know for quite some time.
6. Damage control required. Not even six months into his new job, Kelly already is faced with extinguishing a few fires. Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson have expressed their desire for the coach to name a starting quarterback before training camp. That's not going to happen. See Point 4. And top left tackle Jason Peters was arrested for drag-racing and fleeing from police this month. Finally, running back LeSean McCoy is facing a lawsuit for an alleged assault of a female, although he was never charged by the police who investigated the complaint.
5. They're not plays, they're concepts. Kelly wants every skill-position player on offense to know what all the other players are required to do on each snap, because the "play concepts" they send in could require them having to shift to something else. And the plays themselves could morph into something completely different than the original call, based on how the defense shifts or reacts.
4. Everybody throws, woo-hoo!! Don't count Matt Barkley and Dennis Dixon out of starting QB competition. Both have had mostly good-to-excellent showings in non-padded practices, and if Vick and/or Nick Foles go down in the preseason, Kelly has admitted that it will be awfully tough for any QB who misses the only portion of the preseason in which they're exposed to actual hits to win the job.
3. Less is more. The two-a-days of training camp are a thing of the past. The Eagles will be practicing once a day for approximately two hours, beginning at 12:30, and keeping their position-group meetings short to keep the players' minds from wandering off the reservation. But the practices will be packed with more action and more repetitions for everyone than they were under former coach Andy Reid.
2. Fastest learners first. Kelly's philosophy is "teach to the fastest learner. Everybody else has got to catch up." It explains why wide receiver Jackson, after initially failing to learn every position the way he was asked, was briefly running with the third team until he showed he was catching up. Corrections also are not done on the field during scrimmage sessions, but in the meeting rooms the next day — another method that more closely mimics how the team will operate during the season.
1. Until they hit, Kelly must not commit. No decisions will be made on any job (except perhaps Alex Henery's, since there is no other kicker on the roster) until deep into the preseason, the coach has promised every time he's been asked. The reason? "A lot of players look great in no-contact situations," Kelly explained. "But then when you put pads on, some of them disappear."
Okay, that pretty much sums up a general picture of the current state of the Eagles, which I admit is a "Cliff's Notes" version of where we are right now, but's it's something you could take into a cocktail party or a July 4th barbecue and do fairly well in using it to establish your Iggles Fan Awareness credibilty.