Frank: Overrated and underrated Eagles: Coaches

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Frank: Overrated and underrated Eagles: Coaches

Monday, July 4, 2011
Posted: 5:43 p.m.

By Reuben Frank
CSNPhilly.com

The most popular coach in Eagles history never won a darn thing.

In this weeks installment of our summer series the Most Overrated and Underrated in Eagles History we take a look at a couple Eagles coaches whose legacies do not quite match up with reality.
Overrated

Buddy Ryan is revered in Philadelphia, which is kind of bizarre considering that hes one of only three head coaches in NFL history to take three or more teams to the playoffs and not win a single postseason game.

Of the 78 head coaches in NFL history whove reached the playoffs at least three times, only three Ryan, Allie Sherman and Jim Mora Sr. have failed to win at least one playoff game.

The Eagles were 0-for-Buddy, yet the guy is beloved in Philly because he acted tough, ripped his players and constantly flouted authority, whether it was general manager Harry Gamble or owner Norman Braman.

Not only did Ryans Eagles go winless in the postseason, but they also lost horribly and pathetically and ridiculously in the postseason.

In three playoff games with Ryan at the helm, the Eagles scored one touchdown.

One.

Think about that for a moment. They lost by a combined 61-25 to the Bears in 1988, the Rams in 1989 and the Redskins in 1990. In those three games, they had 44 possessions and managed one touchdown Anthony Toneys one-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Rams with the Eagles already trailing by 14 points.

And the worlds greatest defense? Allowed at least 20 points in all three games to Mike Tomczak, Jim Everett and Mark Rypien.

Was Buddy really a defensive genius? Maybe with the Bears, but only one of his five Eagles defenses ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in either points or yards allowed.

Not until Rich Kotite replaced Ryan did the Eagles finally win their first playoff game since the Dick Vermeil Era.

Andy Reid wins 10 playoff games and gets blasted. Buddy manages one touchdown in the playoffs and hes a legend.

Go figure.

How is it possible to have Reggie White, Eric Allen, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, Wes Hopkins, Andre Waters and Byron Evans on defense and Randall Cunningham, Keith Jackson, Cris Carter and Keith Byars on offense and get blown out of three straight playoff games, two of them at home?

Leave it to Buddy.

Underrated

Marion Campbell has never gotten the credit he deserves for his role on Dick Vermeils staff in the late 1970s and early 1980s and also in putting together the Eagles team of the late-1980s and early 1990s.

As a head coach, Swamp Fox wasnt anything special. His .298 winning percentage with the Eagles and in two stints with the Falcons is third-worst in NFL history, ahead of only David Shula (.268) who Norman Braman nearly hired to replace Campbell and Bert Bell (.179), who went on to become NFL Commissioner.

Campbell went 17-29-1 in three years as head coach of the Eagles before getting fired with one week left in the 1985 season.

But Campbell served an extraordinary six-year stint as Vermeils defensive coordinator, from 1977 through 1982. During that span, the Eagles ranked ninth or better in the NFL in defense five of six years, including No. 1 rankings in both the 1980 Super Bowl season and in 1981.

During that span 1977 through 1982 no NFL team allowed fewer points than the Eagles, who gave up just 1,377, or 17.9 per game. And no team allowed fewer yards than the Eagles (287 per game).

The Eagles ranked third overall in the NFL in rush defense during Swampies tenure as defensive coordinator and sixth in pass defense.

Since 1954, the Eagles have never ranked No. 1 in the NFL in defense (points allowed) under anybody other than Campbell and they did it twice in a row under Swampie. Even in Campbells three years as head coach, the Eagles were solid on defense, ranking eighth, 14th and 10th.

Campbell was a defensive lineman on the NFL-champion 1960 Eagles team, which means he had a role on every Eagles team that reached a title game from the early 1950s until 2004.

The Eagles hadnt reached the playoffs in 18 years when the 1978 team made the first of four straight trips. In those four years, the Eagles gave up 17.6 points in seven playoff games with Campbell as defensive coordinator.

Swamp Foxs other major contribution to the Eagles came in the draft. It was Campbell and not Ryan who was head coach when the organization drafted Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, Wes Hopkins and Andre Waters, who would become the nucleus of Ryans underachieving teams.

Campbell is one of the key figures in Eagles history, as a player, a coordinator and a head coach. Even if nobody realizes it.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RoobCSN.
Related: Frank: Does T.O. belong in the Hall of Fame? Will Birds' defense resemble Iowa's?

Report: Sixers attend New York workout for Ingram, Murray, Maker

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Report: Sixers attend New York workout for Ingram, Murray, Maker

The Sixers are taking their talent evaluation on the road.

On Tuesday, members of the front office attended a workout for Excel Sports Management in New York, which included Brandon Ingram, the projected No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Jamal Murray, a projected lottery pick, and Thon Maker, according to the Inquirer.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own facility, and it is common for teams to attend organized workouts for higher-rated prospects. Head coach Brett Brown, managing owner Josh Harris and vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley traveled to the session, but president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was in Toronto for his son's high school graduation, according to the report.

The Sixers hold the first, 24th and 26th picks in the upcoming draft. The decision between one and two is widely considered to be between Ingram and Ben Simmons (see story). The Sixers have the assets on their roster to move up from Nos. 24 and 26 through a trade, which makes scouting prospects outside of the top two an integral part to their evaluation.

The team has worked out 12 players in Philadelphia and will continue to do so up until the draft on June 23. 

10 observations from Eagles OTA practice Tuesday

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10 observations from Eagles OTA practice Tuesday

Finally some nice weather.

The Eagles began their second round of OTAs on Tuesday under the beaming sun, in near-80 degree temperatures. That’s a departure from the first day of rookie camp and the first day of last week’s OTAs, which both brought rain.

So without the confinements of the practice bubble and without a slick football, we got a chance to see the 2016 Eagles in desirable conditions Tuesday.

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday’s practice:

1. Overall, a pretty sloppy day for the defense. As soon as the team portion of the practice began, Sam Bradford got the defensive line to jump about three times in the first several plays of practice. Late in the practice, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had enough and ripped into a second-year defensive back.

During his nearly 30-minute press conference after practice, Schwartz was asked about his past experience grooming a first-round quarterback (Matthew Stafford), but said he doesn’t have much time to worry about Carson Wentz.

“We’ve got enough worries on defense right now,” he said.

2. If you’re looking for a bright spot on defense, we’ll offer up rookie defensive back Jalen Mills. On Tuesday, Mills got a chance to work against the first-team offense in the Nickel package. When Mills came on the field, Ron Brooks moved inside, while Leodis McKelvin remained outside.

Mills made the defensive play of the day, when he got in between Jordan Matthews and a deep sideline pass.

“He’s been impressive so far,” Schwartz said of the seventh-rounder Mills. “But we haven’t even really started yet, to tell you the truth.”

Schwartz said the team wanted to see how Mills would look going against veterans; before Tuesday, he had mostly been going against rookies.

“We don’t have a depth chart right now,” Schwartz cautioned.

While those three worked with the first team on Tuesday, there could be different players there Wednesday. And Nolan Carroll, who’s still recovering, isn’t yet able to do team drills.

3. Rueben Randle (gallbladder surgery) and Ryan Mathews (illness) both missed practice on Tuesday, which gave some other guys more reps.

At running back, it meant Kenjon Barner worked with the first team, while rookie fifth-rounder Wendell Smallwood worked with the twos. With Mathews out and with Darren Sproles still away, the team had just three running backs suited up on Tuesday. Barner looked pretty good with the first team on Tuesday.

The starting widouts were Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Jordan Matthews. When all three were on the field, Matthews was mostly in the slot. But one guy who did a lot with his reps on Tuesday was free-agent signing Chris Givens. Now, obviously, these guys are still in shorts, but Givens showed off his speed and hands. He’s making a push for the roster as the last receiver to make the team.

4. Fletcher Cox is still not with the team (see story). Last week, during the open practice, Taylor Hart worked next to Bennie Logan in his spot. Tuesday, it was free-agent pickup Mike Martin.

“I’ve been working with them,” Martin said after practice. “We’ve been switching and working both sides. But it’s a great advantage to be able to work with the first-team guys and get those reps.”

5. You’re probably wondering how Wentz looked. He again showed off his strong arm on Tuesday, while working with the threes. Overall, he probably had the best day of the quarterbacks.

He delivered a perfect 25-yard sideline pass to Givens over the shoulder. On another play, he tripped over his offensive lineman’s foot, but was still able to complete an out to Trey Burton while falling. That’s all arm strength, because he couldn’t use his legs to complete the pass.

The one thing we have seen a couple times from Wentz is this: he has a strong arm, but sometimes he has overthrown his targets. Nothing major yet, but something to keep an eye on.

6. Jordan Hicks was back at MIKE with the defense during Tuesday’s team portion of practice, which is a good sign for a team that’s relying on him heavily. Last Tuesday, he was held out with some tightness in his legs.

While Hicks has been playing the middle linebacker spot, Schwartz talked about the versatility of that group.

“All of those guys are pretty much interchangeable, and you have to be now,” Schwartz said.

7. Last Tuesday, head coach Doug Pederson said Cody Parkey wouldn’t be a full-go until perhaps training camp, but the kicker was hitting field goals on Tuesday and looked pretty good.

He did miss about a 43-yarder, but he still has a really good shot to make the team over Caleb Sturgis, who did a nice job filling in last season. It’s not definitely Parkey’s job yet, though. Sturgis looked good Tuesday and that’ll definitely be a competition to watch come training camp.

8. Donnie Jones is the only punter left in the building after the team cut Ryan Quigley earlier this week.

Jones celebrated by booming several punts on Tuesday. He’s still pretty good.

9. Burton has been moving around the field quite a bit in the early going. He’s been lining up on the line as a tight end, in the backfield as a fullback and in the slot as a receiver. It’s pretty clear that in some packages, Pederson and the offense will have a fullback of some kind.

Come training camp, when the hitting begins, Burton will really need to show he can handle that role.

10. Perhaps the most notable change in practice under Pederson, as opposed to Chip Kelly, comes in the form of pace. Under Kelly, the emphasis was on running as many plays as possible in the time allotted, which meant correcting mistakes after practice.

“His approach was to get no-huddle,” left guard Allen Barbre said of Kelly (more on Barbre). “If you stop to correct it all the time, you wouldn’t be getting a no-huddle practice.”

Under Pederson, there’s much more on-field teaching during practice. At one point on Tuesday, Pederson actually stopped the practice, taught technique and made them run it again. Under Kelly, the offense would have been five plays down the line.

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

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National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

It's been nearly two months since Villanova won the National Championship in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history.

Since then, the Wildcats have been honored by the city (parade), the New York Stock Exchange (opening bell), the Phillies (first pitch), the Flyers and the Union. Earlier this week, head coach Jay Wright addressed the Eagles.

But that will all pale in comparison to where the Wildcats will be next Tuesday, when they become the latest championship team to visit the White House and meet President Barack Obama.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

In his pool, President Obama had Villanova finally advancing past the second round — "I know that eventually they're going to break through. They've had some bad luck over the last couple of years," Obama told ESPN.com — but had the Wildcats falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.

He then had Kansas beating North Carolina to win the title.

After surviving the first weekend for the first time since their Final Four run in 2009, Villanova ousted Kansas, 64-59, before shocking Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the national semifinal, winning by 44. The Wildcats then won one of the most memorable championship games in NCAA Tournament history when Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Tar Heels, 77-74.