Pat Shurmur the NFLs Worst Coach of 2012, According to Grantland

Pat Shurmur the NFLs Worst Coach of 2012, According to Grantland

Some of you may be wondering what this story has to do with
the Eagles. Well, while the team has yet to formally announce any assistant hires,
it has been learned that former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur will be
Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator. Now that we got your attention…

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell took an in-depth look at some of
the best and worst in coaching from the NFL season that was on Friday, and
Shurmur’s name popped up in the latter category – twice. Besides grading out the
lowest of all 32 head coaches in 2012, including seven others who were relieved
of their duties this offseason, Shurmur picked up the award for “Most Useless
Challenge.” He must’ve made his mentor very proud with that last one, beings
that it is Andy Reid.

Anyway, what does a guy have to do to deserve being called
the worst?

It's not that Shurmur made one bad
decision in one particular aspect of the game in 2012; it's that he made
obviously wrong calls in so many different spots. He failed to go for two up
15-10 in the fourth quarter in Week 1 and it cost him the game in a 17-16 loss.
He used a timeout before punting on fourth-and-1 from the Indianapolis 41-yard
line with 6:38 left in a close game and ended up having to go for it on
fourth-and-6 later on. He called nine pass plays on third/fourth-and-short in
one Ravens game alone.

If Shurmur had developed his young
talent into successful players, you would excuse his play-calling blunders.
Instead, Shurmur failed to develop either Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden into
anything resembling an NFL-caliber starter, ran an injured Trent Richardson
into the line for no gain for most of the season, and left the Cleveland
organization with a lot of young players who have failed to reach anything
resembling their potential. Bizarrely, he was hired by Chip Kelly to serve as
Philadelphia's new offensive coordinator, a role that thankfully is unlikely to
include play-calling duties. You have to assume that the Eagles are hoping
whatever skills Shurmur showed in St. Louis coaching Sam Bradford come out
again with Nick Foles in Philadelphia. It's possible that Shurmur could be a
better offensive coordinator than a head coach, but only because it's hard to
imagine anybody being a worse head coach.

Yikes. From afar, it looked like Shurmur had the Browns
competing in almost every game last season. When you put it like that though,
it sounds more like he was one of the only things holding them back. What could
Kelly or the Eagles possibly see in this guy?

Geoff Mosher provides a bit more insight into the how
Shurmur can help the Birds, which he picked up from his time covering the
Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
this week:

Kelly and “offensive coordinator”
Pat Shurmur will have a symbiotic coaching relationship. Shurmur, a West Coast
offense proponent, will help Kelly develop and enhance the team’s passing game.
Kelly, meanwhile, will school Shurmur on the spread offense, an education that
could help Shurmur get back to a head coaching job.

In other words, the offense will be Kelly’s, but Shurmur’s
knowledge of a pro-style scheme could be helpful in adapting the spread for the
NFL – and in turn, he might just be able to parlay this into a new gig of his
own. Then again, based on Barnwell’s analysis, Shurmur is going to need all the
education he can get.

While there is some truth to each and every criticism of
Shurmur, and they are reasons to be skeptical of his role on the staff,
the
outgoing offensive coordinator makes for a good cautionary tale about
jumping
to conclusions. When Reid first brought Marty Mornhinweg into the fold
in 2003,
he was coming off of one of the worst head-coaching stints in NFL
history,
producing five wins in two seasons with the Detroit Lions. He once famously
elected to take the wind after winning the coin toss in sudden-death overtime, then watched the
opponent take the ball right down the field and score. The moral is Mornhinweg was
promoted to coordinator in ’06, and although the past two years are
still fresh
on everybody’s mind, the Eagles did set the franchise record for points
scored
in back-to-back-to-back seasons from ’08-’10.

Shurmur is unlikely to have anywhere near that level of impact in Philadelphia, but Mornhinweg's story should give some pause to those wondering how this guy even got the job. By the same token, Shurmur being the choice to see Kelly through this transition is sure to prompt some concerns, perhaps rightfully so.

>> Thank You, Coaches [Grantland]

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Phillies likely to carry rookie backup catcher in 2017

Phillies likely to carry rookie backup catcher in 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The likelihood of the Phillies going with a rookie backup catcher in 2017 increased dramatically when the Miami Marlins signed free agent A.J. Ellis on Wednesday.

Ellis spent the final month of the 2016 season with the Phillies after coming over from the Dodgers in the Carlos Ruiz trade. Ellis, 35, got high marks for his work with the Phillies’ young pitching staff and the Phils had some interest in bringing him back. The interest, however, was complicated by a tight 40-man roster, which already includes three catchers — starter Cameron Rupp and minor-league prospects Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp.

With Ellis out of the picture, the Phillies will likely use either Alfaro or Knapp as the backup catcher in 2017. Knapp spent a full year at Triple A in 2016 and could end up being the guy as Alfaro moves to Triple A for another year of seasoning.

General manager Matt Klentak spoke earlier this week of the possibility of going with a rookie at backup catcher.

“Andrew Knapp just finished his age 25 season in Triple A,” Klentak said. “He has a full year of at-bats in Triple A. At some point for both he and Alfaro, we’re going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big-league level. During the 2017 season, we’ll have to find out — not just about those two guys — but others.”

It’s not all that surprising that Ellis ended up with the Marlins on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. He played for Marlins manager Don Mattingly during the latter’s time as manager of the Dodgers.

Wired to win, Carson Wentz growing frustrated with Eagles' losing

Wired to win, Carson Wentz growing frustrated with Eagles' losing

He’s already lost more games as an NFL quarterback than as a college quarterback, and Carson Wentz says he’ll never get used to all the losing.
 
Wentz, who went 20-3 as a college starter, is 5-7 a dozen games into his rookie year.
 
The Eagles have lost five of their last six games and are 2-7 in their last nine.
 
From Seattle through Cincinnati, Wentz lost as many games in a 15-day span as he lost in his entire career as a starter at North Dakota State.
 
“It’s frustrating,” Wentz said Wednesday. “No one likes losing, especially in this business as a quarterback. 
 
“I’m wired to be a winner. I hate losing. But at the same time it doesn’t affect us going forward. I know it doesn’t affect me and I can probably say the same thing for the guys in that locker room. 
 
“We’re going to come in and prepare and be the same win or lose, because I think that’s what it takes to be great and you can’t waver. You can’t change how you approach things. You can’t change how you go about your business, win, lose or draw. 
 
“But at the same time, yeah, without a doubt. We don’t like losing around here.”
 
The Eagles have the third-worst record in the NFL since Week 4, ahead of only the hapless Browns and 49ers. 

They haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention yet, but it sure seems like only a matter of time.
 
Since building a 3-0 record, the Eagles’ only wins have come on Oct. 23 over the Viking and Nov. 13 over the Falcons, both at the Linc.
 
No NFL quarterback has lost more games than Wentz since Week 4. Wentz and Blake Bortles are both 2-7 during that stretch and Sam Bradford is 3-6.
 
North Dakota State went 71-5 with five national championships during Wentz’s five years in Bismarck, North Dakota. As a starter, he was 15-1 as a junior, including the postseason, then went 5-2 during an injury-marred senior year, although for a second straight year he led the Bison to the FCS national title.
 
So he’s not used to losing. Not at all. Not like this.
 
“You get in the locker room and it’s kind of a down feeling,” he said. “A lot of you guys are in the locker room after the game. They’re tough. You don’t like losing, no one does. Especially on the road having to get on the plane or the bus or whatever and come back home. 
 
“But you get over it. You turn on the tape and you learn from it. But right after you watch that tape, it’s on to the next. That’s kind of the nature of this league and that’s how you have to approach it.”

Fortunately, the Eagles have an expert on just this subject in the NovaCare Complex. 
 
Doug Pederson pointed out Wednesday he was a part of some really bad teams, and he said that gives him an ability to relate to Wentz on how to endure all the losing.
 
“In Cleveland we were 3-and-13 (in 2000), and then Philadelphia, my first year, being 5-and-11,” said Pederson, who was also an assistant coach on a 4-12 Eagles team in 2012. 
 
“Just kind of leaning back on those experiences and how we fought through. How we fought through adversity. How people try to divide the team or say negative things about players or whatever. We just kind of kept that thing nice and tight. 
 
“So those are things that I can lean back, when you talk about the experience factor. I lean back on those experiences to relay to Carson how we went about our business during those following weeks to come and kept that team together. 
 
“We had great leadership on the team, like we do now. With him, it's just a matter of keeping him grounded, keeping him level headed. He's a leader of this football team, and he doesn't have to do it all himself. That's the beauty of it. There are 10 other guys on offense, and 11 on defense, and special teams that have a big part in this whole process.”
 
Wentz has been going non-stop for almost a year now. From the FCS title game to combine prep to draft prep to OTAs and minicamps to training camp and now heading into Week 14 of the regular season.
 
But he said he doesn’t feel any signs of burn-out or fatigue. Although his numbers have dipped over the past couple months, he said he feels fresh and upbeat going into the final quarter of the season, which begins with the Redskins at the Linc on Sunday.
 
“I feel good,” he said. “I think it comes down to: Do you love it enough? I think if you love the game and you’re around it, you enjoy the grind. You attack it and it’s part of the process. 
 
“For me, there’s no more school to go to during the day. It’s just football all day every day and I love that. It’s been a lot of fun and by no means is it wearing on me in a negative way.”
 
What about his numbers? The stats are not pretty. 
 
Games 1 through 4: 67 percent completion, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 103.5 passer rating, 3-1 record.
 
Games 5 through 8: 61 percent completion, 2 TDs, 4 INTs, 72.4 passer rating, 1-3 record.
 
Games 9 through 12: 61 percent completion, 3 TDs, 6 INTs, 68.3 passer rating, 1-3 record.
 
Wentz shrugs it all off. 
 
“We’re all a work in progress. every quarterback in this league I think would say that,” Wentz said.
 
“You’re never a finished product, myself included. So you’re always analyzing different things you can do, from pocket movement to footwork. You’re always analyzing those things. So we talk about those things but we don’t harp on it. 
 
“Myself and really just everybody, we’ve just got to be better disciplined to things. Whether that’s alignment or pre-snap things, from recognition, from reads, you name it. We just all have to be disciplined. Really just execute better. It starts with me. Control our mistakes and that goes for everybody, myself first and foremost.
 
“We now what we’re capable of, I think everyone in the building does. We just have to get over the hump a little bit here.”