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]

T.J. McConnell (wrist) in a splint, doubtful to play for Sixers Wednesday

T.J. McConnell (wrist) in a splint, doubtful to play for Sixers Wednesday

Sixers point guard T.J. McConnell is doubtful for Wednesday's home game against the Raptors with a right wrist sprain.

McConnell was in a splint at practice Tuesday and said he would try to play but would leave it up to the medical staff.

McConnell is averaging 4.8 points and 5.4 assists in 38 games. The Sixers went 5-2 in the last seven games he started before his injury, and won 113-104 in Milwaukee without him. Sergio Rodriguez started at PG in McConnell's place and had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Chasson Randle backed up the point and had 10 points and a pair of threes.

Big men update
Joel Embiid did not practice Tuesday and is listed as probable for Wednesday night when the Sixers (13-26) host the Raptors (27-13).

“Joel Embiid ... was a little bit, had the flu,” Brett Brown said.

Brown also added that he does not think Embiid's minutes limit will increase beyond 28 this season.

Jahlil Okafor (probable) did not participate in practice and received treatment. Brown said Okafor had soreness. Gerald Henderson is also probable and had an individualized workout Tuesday.

Wayne Simmonds gets engaged during Flyers' bye week

Wayne Simmonds gets engaged during Flyers' bye week

So far, 2017 has been a pretty big year for Wayne Simmonds.
 
In addition to being named to his first All-Star team this year, Simmonds clearly had big plans on how to spend his bye week away from hockey, before returning to play the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. He popped the question to his girlfriend, Crystal Corey, and she said yes.
 
Simmonds announced the engagement on his Instagram.

11,700 feet and she said YES! I Love you @cryscorey 💛#SimmondsandSimmonds

A photo posted by Wayne Simmonds (@wayne17simmonds) on

It could be good news for the Flyers, too. Simmonds is the second Flyer to get engaged this season after Claude Giroux popped the question in December after winning three in a row. The Flyers made the winning streak an even 10 after. Congratulations, Wayne!