I got "the Talk" yesterday… you know, the Willy Loman "talk" you get when they think you're ready to be put out to pasture…or you need a very long rest.
I guess my blurbs on the Eagles have been running a little long lately… but you know THERE'S SO MUCH TO TAKE IN!!
But when the super arch-enemies— the Great Brizer and the Ultimate Curmudgeon Sunbutts— are both in agreement that my sales pitches have become too lengthy— "too long to read", as they say— then maybe I need to perk up— and maybe also check the gaskets on my gas hot water heater.
That's me as Willy Loman getting the news that my time as an Eagles salesman has come and gone… See, we have E-mail and Twitter now, and Facebook, too… You don't have to dig deep for historical football stuff anymore… it's all in the NOW, baby… Guys like me are living in the past… Nobody does live interviews or attend local public appearances by players at neighborhood pubs anymore… And radio shows are so passe…Enough with the analytical words and the history— we just want instant images!
Okay, I get it, I understand that everyone's time is precious and they want the story in 100 words or less…
But I'm one of the last of the traveling salesmen of the NFL media… I go to different towns and cities within the circumstantial fabric of my employment and I cannot help but find a myriad of different opinions and conflicting analyses about what Eagles football and NFL competition are really all about.
Mostly I find a tragic lack of a sense of history among younger fans. But that is where I get into trouble— I try to educate, become long-winded, and end up alienating the Madden-video-game generation.
And then, suddenly, it's just "too long—didn't read"…
Okay then. So now the goal becomes to leave this Eagles' legacy "free and clear"…
I will keep going until we win that damn Lombardi Trophy. For the life of me I will never understand why the NFL Championships of 1960, 1948 and 1949 don't count— but that would be just yet another long-winded discussion.
Okay, you want it short and sweet? Here it is—
1. Kenny Phillips sees himself coming up big in TC this summer and winning the #1 Free Safety job from Nate Allen. It all has to do with Phillips' knees. They have been giving him problems ever since he was drafted by the Giants with the 31st-overall pick in 2008. His left knee needed microfracture surgery in 2009, his right MCL ruined his 2012 campaign. They have been an unwanted anchor to his career.
2. Las Vegas oddsmakers have set the over-under on Eagles' wins in 2013 at 7. The Giants are the favorites. Their win total is set at 9 games. The Cowboys and Redskins are not far behind. They're both at 8 1/2.
3. TE James Casey gets his knee cleaned out— Casey, whom the Eagles signed away from the Houston Texans, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss the next few weeks of OTAs. Casey confirmed the news on his Twitter account on Thursday. Casey expects to be back to full speed in two weeks. While that might be optimistic, the good news Casey should be 100% by training camp. With Casey down, the Eagles now have Brent Celek, Clay Harbor, Emil Igwenagu, Derek Carrier, and Wlll Shaw to work with. Zach Ertz, the team's second round pick, is unable to participate because Stanford has yet to hold its graduation.
4. Eagles assistant coaches met with the media on Thursday— and basically said too much! Each assistant sat at a table in the NovaCare Complex cafeteria and engaged in conversation with media members who made the rounds, trying to talk in an hour with as many coaches as humanly possible without walking out on one mid-sentence. It was an awkward round of football speed dating.
• Many of the offensive coaches seemed to refute the perceptions floating around about what the Eagles are going to be this season with their new system in place under Chip Kelly. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Kelly's offense isn't going to be all that different from the West Coast offense as it shares many similar concepts. Shurmur, of course, grew up on the WCO in Philadelphia under Andy Reid. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland added that the Eagles are going to run a lot of the same plays that he ran last year at Alabama, just from more spread out formations. The schemes are very similar, he said. This I have to say was a little surprising to hear.
• The Eagles are monitoring safety Kenny Phillips' workload very closely. The former Giant has struggled with knee problems the past few seasons. Defensive backs coach Jim Lovett talks to the trainers and strength coach every day to gauge how Phillips is feeling and progressing. Lovett then works with that information (and input from Phillips) to determine a plan for that day. For example, together they decided it was best Thursday for Phillips to sit out all team drills as a precautionary measure. Their goal right now is for Phillips to be 100 percent for training camp. There is no need to risk anything during OTAs. "I want to see No. 21 at full speed, not half speed," Lovett said.
• Matt Barkley has made nothing but positive impressions so far. The fourth-round pick's ability to throw on the run has been especially impressive.
• Billy Davis' defense is going to bring pressure. Nobody is off limits. The Eagles new defensive coordinator plans to attack opposing quarterbacks from all angles and every position. "We'll pressure from anybody on the defense," he said. "We have pressures for everybody. We'll bring anybody we need."
• Dennis Kelly has worked some at left tackle. He may just be the backup to Jason Peters when all is said and done with Lane Johnson starting at right tackle. The Eagles like what they've seen from Kelly so far.
• Not one assistant coach is so sure Antonio Dixon fits with what the Eagles are trying to do on defense. He's considered a "work in progress" right now as a nose tackle.
• Colt Anderson is often considered an afterthought as a safety. Once again, he's opened some eyes. Anderson is a better safety than the coaches believed before the Eagles started their offseason program. Don't be surprised if he receives a legit chance to crack the lineup in training camp. Remember, Anderson finished last season ahead of Nate Allen on the depth chart.
Okay, I'll go back to my room now. I won't linger. But remember… promises were made!