Posts for cory undlin

Who Stays, Who Goes Post-Chip?

Mark Saltveit - January 5, 2016

Now that Chip Kelly is gone, you can expect some of his boys to be out, too. But only Ed Marynowitz (who replaced Howie Roseman as Chip’s guy in personnel) has been fired so far, and no one has quit.

All of the position coaches and coordinators face replacement by the new coach, of course, but at a minimum Duce Staley is likely to stay (if he isn’t hired as coach or coordinator himself). Jeffrey Lurie would be trolling Eagles fans if he kept Billy Davis, but with Shurmur slated to interview for the head coach job, it wouldn’t be a shock if he stayed on as offensive coordinator.

Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin have done well with their units and aren’t especially tied to Kelly. On the other hand, Chip’s close associates Jerry Azzinaro (asst. HC & DL) and Ryan Day (QB coach) should be packing their bags already. Whether Chip gets a new job or not, they’re gone.

It will be interesting to see if the team keeps the sports science unit Chip built. The Eagles have done well in avoiding games lost to injury, but the sleep detectors and urine tests seemed to irritate players a lot. [Editor’s note: This will be interesting to see if the Eagles essentially dial back the clock and remove many of the advancements – smoothies, heart rate monitors, player tracking system, etc. – but I can’t imagine the more invasive stuff – sleep monitors and pee samples – stays.]

Among players, Jason Kelce was a vocal supporter of Chip’s system and had trouble getting push even in it this year. But he predates Kelly and the team has so many holes on the offensive line that they’d be foolish to replace him.

Ex-Oregon players Josh Huff, Kiko Alonso, Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart are obvious targets, and none have made themselves indispensable on the field. Kenjon Barner was a reasonable third running back this year, comparable to Bryce Brown with fewer fumbles. Shurmur actually played him more in Week 17 than Chip generally did, which is a good sign for him.

Safety Walter Thurmond was the most successful ex-Duck this year, but he’s a free agent. When interviewed, he was kind of meh about returning, indicating that, sure, he’d love to, but doesn’t think the team has enough money for him. Good safeties are in short supply, so expect him to follow the money elsewhere.

Stopping John Brown is the key to the Eagles – Cardinals game

Mark Saltveit - December 20, 2015

Philadelphia matches up well against Arizona. They beat them in a tough 2013 game, and lost last year only because of a stupid defensive play.

The Eagles led 20-17 with 1:21 left. Arizona had the ball on their own 25. Might be a good time for a prevent defense, right? Instead, Cary Williams played tight on Williams, who predictably ran by him. Worse, safety Nate Allen bit on a double move, trying to be a hero by going for an interception on a short pass that was just a fake.

Brown flew by both for an easy touchdown. And no doubt, he’s one of the fastest receivers in the game. But half-decent coverage could have stopped the play or at least limited it to a long gain.

Since then, Allen signed with the Raiders as a free agent, and Cary Williams is out of football after the Seahawks cut him. The Eagles also replaced DBs coach John Lovett with Cory Undlin, who players rave about, and the unit as a whole is much better. So far, they’ve given up 44 passes of 20 yards or longer in 13 games. Last year, in 16, they surrendered 72.

But the secondary is still a work in progress. EJ Biggers is erratic at best. Nolan Carroll broke his ankle. Against Tampa Bay and Detroit, DC Bill Davis tried moving Malcolm Jenkins out of the nickel CB role back to a more traditional safety position. The Eagles gave up 45 points each to two of the league’s worst teams.

After they put Malcolm back in the slot and called up Ed Reynolds from the practice squad to play safety, the Birds beat New England and Buffalo, giving up only 28 and 20 points. And Reynolds clinched the Bills game with his late interception.

How well the Eagles handle John Brown tonight will be a good marker of their chances to win. Whether he faces Byron Maxwell or rookie Eric Rowe, Brown remains a deep threat who demands safety help to neutralize. The Eagles will need good coaching from Undlin, a smart defensive game plan and individual execution by Reynolds and Rowe, two green players, to have a chance at pulling off this upset.