Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians: read-option a ‘great college offense’

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians: read-option a ‘great college offense’

At this point in the year, the Eagles’ offense is firmly entrenched as one of the better units in the NFL by almost any measure. They’re fourth in yards per game, ninth in points. They have the NFL’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, the wide receiver with the most catches over 20 yards in DeSean Jackson, and the highest rated passer in Nick Foles.

There are still some people out there though that won’t give Chip Kelly’s system its due. Phil Simms notoriously quipped Philly’s offense was one of the worst units in the league about a month ago. Throw Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians on board as one of the dinosaurs who still think the read-option is a gimmick.

Of course, the read-option isn’t Kelly’s offense, but it’s certainly a big part of what they do. You can see the concept at work on most of the Birds’ running plays and play-actions. They use it, and it works—in the NFL. Apparently Arians doesn’t quite feel that way though, because he dropped the C-word in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Per the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski:

“I still think it’s a great offense. It’s a great college offense when you put a great athlete back there,” Arians said. “But when you’re facing great athletes, with the speed that’s in the NFL who are chasing these guys, unless you’re superhuman, you’re going to get hurt sooner or later—not hurt, but beat up and bruised up, and you don’t want your quarterback feeling bruised up when he’s trying to throw and be accurate.”

Maybe this is cause to bring back to the old 700 Level feature Trash Talk Thursdays. I don’t think we ever featured head coaches though.

Look, not everybody is going to or should embrace the read-option. Arians’ philosophies have resulted in a long career as an NFL assistant, offensive coordinator, and finally now a head coach. That stuff still works too. But at this point, isn’t it becoming a little silly to insist the read-option is only a gimmick?

It’s safe to say the Eagles’ offensive linemen didn’t agree with Arians’ assertion, either. Sheil Kapadia got a few of their takes on Arians’ comments yesterday for the great Birds 24/7 blog.

“I think it’s a great any-level offense, personally,” said center Jason Kelce. “I think anybody who doesn’t think it can be successful at this level is obviously mistaken.”

“That was my first thought not knowing anything about it,” [Evan] Mathis said. “But it’s all in the execution, and it really depends on how you’re doing it. If the quarterback pulls the ball and he’s running, and someone’s about to tackle him, he’s allowed to slide. That’s usually what the guys are taught to do. If he’s trying to break tackles and barrel over people, he’s gonna get hurt. But I think without doing it that much or knowing much about it, that would be a common thought.

The numbers speak for themselves, including the Eagles’ record. If they’re 6-5 using a “college offense,” what does that say about the NFL?

>> Bruce Arians: Read option ‘a great college offense’ [Inq]
>> Kelce Takes Issue With Arians’ Comments [Philly Mag]

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

NEW ORLEANS -- Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to co-exist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right Jones fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.