I followed up on our esteemed Bored Chairman’s (GK Brizer’s) suggestion that one of the main objectives of OTA’s and minicamp is to push your regulars and your prospects into situations of failure.
I know, that sounds weird, but hear me out…
I called one of the NFC West’s most well-known assistant coaches (who stands alone among 15 other non-respondents I called) and I finally got an answer and an opinion to my question: “Why do you throw so much new stuff at guys in OTA’s and minicamp and expect them to excel? Does their inability to absorb it all bother you?”
His answer (and I shall withhold his name to protect the innocent): “We design OTA’s and minicamp to overwhelm players with new information—-with the express purpose of getting mistakes on tape—- which turns out to be the best method of teaching players to play the way our schemes are designed…”
Wow! So much for the politically correct ideology of rewarding all players equally for voluntary participation…
So apparently, based upon my anecdotal evidence, the idea is to inundate your camp players with so much new information that inevitably someone makes a huge mistake or miscalculation— and then that turns into a teaching moment for all on tape.
My secret source put it this way: “We intentionally blow you away with so many new installations in such a short period of time that you are bound to mess up at some point….and that’s when we come in and say ‘this is how we want it done’…”
My secret source also added: “We want our players to be overloaded with new information… we want them to go out there and cope with new instructions and designs, and then we want them to fail while they’re really trying hard not to fail…”
Wow, that’s a really dramatic way to set up a teaching moment. I guess you praise a player when you catch him doing something right in practice— but apparently he learns more when you catch him making a mistake.
Brizer was on to sumlin there.
While the shockwave of Brizer’s genius settles among all of us, I will now turn to a pedestrian review of the Eagles’ minicamp performance so far, and give you the collective observations of NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo, who was actually there yesterday because he has a press pass and I don’t:
“The second of three mandatory practices during Eagles minicamp was held Wednesday at the Novacare Complex, with only one more on the schedule before the players can get out of town until training camp gets underway next month.”
“Training camp in late July will be the time where coaches can really begin to make determinations as far as position battles and evaluations of some of the younger players on the roster, but that isn’t to say there isn’t value to these spring practices.”
“What I have seen from these 90 guys is a real dedication to what we want to get accomplished here,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “Up until these three days, it’s not mandatory but we have had everyone here for phase one, phase two, phase three. Guys are here every single day challenging themselves to get better. There’s been a constant improvement from when we got here on April 21 to where we are standing now.”
“Here’s a look at the key moments and observations from Wednesday’s practice:”
DEFENSE RULES THE DAY:
Whether a product of backup quarterback G.J. Kinne’s taking a a handful of first-team reps or just a better day all around for the defense, the pass rush produced several sacks, tipped balls and interceptions today. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who says he sees similarities between the Eagles’ and Saints’ programs, had at least two pass breakups. Kinne had been splitting third-team reps with Matt Barkley but today was rewarded with some first-team reps.
CURTIS MARSH FLYING ALL OVER THE FIELD:
Speaking of interceptions, Marsh intercepted Matt Barkley during a full-team drill on a 20-yard out pattern. Marsh has good coverage and was in position to pick off a hard thrown, spiral from the second-year USC product who has had his fair share of struggles this spring. [T.J.’s note— Jimmy Kempski says Barkley’s passes were floating and easily picked…relatively speaking}
NICK FOLES SHOWS OFF ARM STRENGTH:
On several occasions Wednesday Foles attempted to stretch the field with deep throws both in seven-on-seven drills and full team 11-on-11. One missed connection though was on a 50-yard pass over the middle that was just out of the reach of a diving Jeremy Maclin. Among the other positives from Foles’ impressive showing this spring is that his arm appears to have gotten stronger during the off-season.
MATT BARKLEY TAKES MORE SECOND-TEAM REPS:
This spring has been a struggle for Barkley who doesn’t look any better than he did during a difficult rookie spring and summer last year. However, one positive for Barkley is that Mark Sanchez has had his fair shares of struggles as well. Up until Wednesday Barkley was splitting third-team reps with Kinne but got some time with the second-team during this practice. While the USC product remains erratic, he did have a nice throw in a red-zone drill that he completed to a leaping Josh Huff for a touchdown in the back of the end zone.
FOLES TO MATTHEWS FOR PLAY OF THE DAY:
It came early in the day during a seven-on-seven drill, but Foles had one of his better throws of a very impressive spring Wednesday. Foles dropped back and lifted a pass over the giant fly-swatters worn on the shoulders of assistant coaches at the line of scrimmage designed to simulate defenders blocking passing lanes, and placed the ball perfectly into the outstretched hands of wide receiver Jordan Matthews who made the catch between Connor Barwin and Nate Allen.
[Follow Matt Lombardo on Twitter: @MattLombardo975]