Monday, June 15, 2009

Pass Rush and More On Weaver

Pt.3 of my PE.com column is now posted. I talked about the need to improve the pass rush and how that might happen.

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=17889


LEONARD WEAVER

A poster named dawkins20 on the EMB put together a clip of Leonard Weaver in action.

You can see his talent and versatility in these highlights.

I still have issues with him as a lead blocker. You can see that he lacks pop in these clips. He'll engage the defender, but doesn't roll his hips and drive through the target. He will stick with a block and you can see how that helps break a couple of runs. Weaver also uses proper positioning on most of the plays. Sometimes that can make a huge difference in the success of the run.

His pass blocking and blitz pickup is good. Maybe very good. Weaver was a TE in college. You can see that he's used to blocking like that, being set and taking on a defender. Weaver will be a good improvement over Klecko in pass blocking.

As a runner and receiver his ability is pretty obvious. He looks like a RB, not a big ol' FB out there just rumbling along. He has 2 career runs of 20+ yards. He has 3 career catches of 40+ yards. Those are crazy numbers for a young FB. Jon Ritchie never had a run go 20 yards or a reception go for 40. He didn't have many rushing attempts, but did catch 150 passes.

Weaver averages 4.4 ypc for his career. He averages almost 12 yds per reception. That's impressive. The one downside would be that he's got only 1 career rushing TD. I think that stat has more to do with Mike Holmgren feeding the ball to the RB around the goal line, but I still am surprised that Weaver only has the one TD.

He's a definite upgrade at FB. My only question is how good of a lead blocker he will be for us. If Weaver can at least be solid in that area, we'll be a much better running team.

I have been told that the Eagles wanted Weaver in part because he can run and catch. He will get touches here and not just be a lead blocker. Weaver's agent indicated that one reason he came to Philly was because he would get touches. He will be part of the offense. How many? That's hard to say at this point, but if we can get him the ball about 80 times this year that would be good. That's 2 carries and 3 catches per game. Or vice-versa.


http://replay-re-cutter.nfl.com/clip.aspx?key=C91EA08637DC8927&ctx=myclips&type=image

A poster named Nocturnal came up with this clip. The 2nd play is a good block of Takeo Spikes on an inside run. The overall package is Julius Jones, but obviously his best runs came in part because of good blocks.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d80acd80b/WK-2-Julius-Jones-highlights

Stats:

http://www.nfl.com/players/leonardweaver/careerstats?id=WEA679429

_

8 comments:

izzylangfan said...

Tommy,

I really like your work. Eagles Blitz and Scoutsnotebook.com are by far the best reading on the eagles available. Sure the Eagles website is key for getting some facts but for intellegent analysis you cant be beat. The folks who comment on Eagles Blitz are also excellent and I enjoy reading their comments. Your recent three pieces (two on Eagles Blitz and one Fandemonium article on PE.com) are particularly interesting and I have some comments on each of them.

RE: Depth Chart

I guess your depth chart makes sense. But I think that if either Peters of Sean Andrews were to go down for any length of time the most likely substitutions would be to slide Herremans or Stacey Andrews (perhaps his recovery might prevent this in 2009) out to tackle. Then Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles or Mike McGlyn could take their place on the inside of the line. They might like someone like Dunlop but that does not mean the Eagles brass is willing to trust McNabb's safety to him. We all remember what happened when Winston Justice took Tra Thomas' place. Why Reid didn't give him more help and let him suffer so is hard to figure. But as far as putting Justice in their in the first place I'm guessing he didn't want to mess up the chemistry of the line for one week and thus resisted sliding Todd out. However, after the performances of Max and Nick at guard last year I don't think Reid is going to use a back up tackle who isn't really ready for prime time. This is key this year since Tra rarely missed a game and Runyan never missed a game as an Eagle. Sean Andrews has already missed two seasons out of five which is more that Thomas and Runyan combined.

RE: Leonard Weaver:

With fullback Weaver a true threat as a running back as well as a blocking back, I feel he will basically become the third option on run plays. That means that the choice of the third running back may really become the fourth option on running plays. Shouldn't this effect the choice of the third running back? For example if it comes down to Eckel and LoBo might not Reid think of using both Eckel and Weaver in the backfield for third/fourth and one/two rather than LoBo and Weaver? Or in a more normal situation where lets say a three to five yard third option back is desired wouldn't a straight run or short pass to Peters be just as good to a straght run or short pass to LoBo?

RE: Defensive Line Article on PE.com.

I agree with your assertion that defensive linemen particularly defensive ends often take several seasons before the switch goes on. But might it not be a bit too soon to count on this for Albiamiri this year? He played little his rookie year and was hurt and working his way back into shape last year so his game experience has been limited. If he didn't bloom until his fourth or fifth year wouldn't that still be in line with the norm? Also, can you give us more detail on why you say that left defensive end is a more physical position than right defensive end? What are the key differences in techniques required and situations faced between the two end positions?

Cliff said...

Justice & Abiamiri...

I think at some point Andy Reid has (in Justice's case, had) to see what they can do. They were both high draft picks, which means you expect them to be contributing early. Maybe not their first season, but definitely by their second and third, in whatever way they can.

Reid had to throw Justice in against the Giants. If Justice had a stronger work ethic, that beat down might have been a learning experience and inspired him to work harder. Unfortunately, it didn't.

It's Abiamiri's turn now. We have to know if he is the DE of the future.

izzylangfan said...

@Cliff

I suppose you are correct. But surely Reid knew from practice that Justice really didn't have it so putting him in there was sort of a hail Mary. Albiamiri on the other hand played well as a rookie - getting in games. In his sophomore year Albiamiri came back from injury to play decently. So, the progression of tangible results is there for Albiamiri. But if Reid was testing Justice he found out that he can't do the job and that he doesn't respond well to adversity. Why did he keep him around another year?

orangecrush007 said...

Whether we win or lose in the Super Bowl depends on whether Abiamiri is a player or not.

Prem Prakash said...

"Eagles Blitz and Scoutsnotebook.com are by far the best reading on the eagles available. Sure the Eagles website is key for getting some facts but for intellegent analysis you cant be beat. The folks who comment on Eagles Blitz are also excellent and I enjoy reading their comments."

Well said.

T_S_O_P said...

I still think Ted Daisher has a say as to whether LoBo makes this football team.

The Old Buffoon said...

Tommy et al,

Has Reid ever put together a starting OL with gifts so heavily tilted toward the run game? Peters, especially, has to learn a whole new technique in order to transition to our pass-heavy offense. On the other hand, assuming a relatively healthy Westbrook, I have zero concerns about having success with the most physical running game we've seen since Duce Staley. In light of this, what are the chances (not just in dreamland) that Reid actually starts the year with a more conservative balanced offense and slowly brings out more and more of the pass attack later in the season as this OL begins to gel?

izzylangfan said...

@ The Old Buffoon

I agree that the Eagles this year stack up to have the best running team in ages. However, I do not believe that Reid will get more conservative balanced offense as you put it - for several reasons.

1. Reid is committed to his West Coast Offense, and whatever the sum of his beliefs, judgments and prejudices he is not going to change.

2. Teams will have to respond to the Eagles running prowess. Even last year where Westbrook was hurt the first defensive priority of just about every Eagles opponent was to shut down/minimize Westbrook's contribution. So teams already had to adjust to the run and short pass - allowing Reid to go for the long pass more often. Remember that the long pass is a strength of McNabb and this year we are blessed with the best group of receivers we have had in a long time. And finally -

3. Reid's version of the West Coast Offense already includes much more running than the classic WCO which might be only 35% run. Classically, one of the core concepts of the WCO is to use the short pass as a run equivalent. So the amount that one normally runs is reduced to be replaced by those 5 yard look ins, quick outs, and step back on the wing passes. Now Reid uses less of those short passes than most WCO practitioners and more runs and long passes.

Now if opponents want to live dangerously and not adjust to the Eagles running capability I think Reid will go with the tactic of "take what they give you". So I do not think his belief in the WCO will override good sense. But I expect that teams will respect the run as they have in the past and the mix will be largely the same. I believe and hope, however, that the results will be better this year.