Not much football to talk about today, but a great sports weekend nonetheless.
First, the Eagles. With a new coaching staff and scheme, we have to expect several players to be unsuccessful in transitioning. Most of the suspects have been on defense (Cole, Graham), but we need to recognize that some offensive players may not make it either. Unfortunately, until training camp begins, we won’t really know who the prime suspects are. Allow me to name my surprise pick…
I’ve long been a big Jackson fan. I think he’s underrated as an all-around receiver and wasn’t used well by the previous scheme. His straight-line speed is among the best in the league, and used properly, he should open the entire field up by forcing safety coverage deep. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes a less successful transition than I hope and others expect. Let’s talk about what the new offense might look like:
– Most expect it to be run-heavy and potentially option-based.
– Requires WRs who can block…
– Emphasizes short passes and YAC. (It’s very tough to run no huddle if you use a lot of deep routes)
None of those aspects play to DeSean’s strength, though he can absolutely be a YAC threat in the slot (he’s much stronger in the middle of the field than people realize, owing mainly to his contract-related issues).
Also, if the Quarterback battle plays out the way I think it will (i.e. Nick Foles wins), we could be looking at a QB who’s biggest weakness is deep-ball accuracy (if he hasn’t improved this offseason).
So now we’ve got an offense that needs WRs who can block, doesn’t emphasize the deep ball, and doesn’t have a QB that can get it deep with any consistent accuracy. That sounds like it could spell trouble for D-Jax.
If I had to place a bet today on D-Jax’s future, I’d still wager that Kelly uses him the right way and helps return Jackson to the upper echelon of NFL deep threats. However, I think we’re all overlooking the transition risk for Jackson.
To the NBA for a minute:
For those of you watching, you’re seeing an absolutely unprecedented performance. Green’s turning in the greatest shooting performance in the history of the finals (perhaps any series depending on how the next game or two goes) and making a case for NBA finals MVP. More surprising is the fact that, coming into the series, NOBODY would have ranked Green any higher than 5th in terms of the Spurs best players (Parker, Duncan, Ginobli, Leonard).
Lost in the Green/Parker hype (and Ginobli’s breakout last night) has been remarkable play by Kawhi Leonard. People have been talking about the Spurs “window” closing for years now, but it looks to me like the team might have a much more successful post-Duncan/Ginobli transition than anyone expected.
I’m not going to talk about the NHL much. The Finals have been great, but it seems to me that if you’re a hockey fan you already know that, and if you’re not, there’s probably not much I can say at this point to convince you to watch.
It also doesn’t help that there isn’t a natural side for Flyers fans to take. I’m going Blackhawks, mainly because they’re not Boston and have the best jerseys in professional sports (the Red ones obviously).