Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Tommy Lawlor wonders if Dion Lewis might be the guy to break Marty Mornhinweg's constant dependence on a single running back:

Dion Lewis could be the RB to change all of this. The key is that he’s not just a runner. Dion, based on this summer, looks like he could be a weapon in the passing game as well. He must show that he can be counted on as a blocker. For those who might compare him to Ryan Moats because both guys are small, don’t. Lewis is already an infinitely better blocker than Moats was.

I agree with Tommy that the Eagles need to spread the load around where possible. Running backs just don't last long in the NFL, and the more you can rest them, the healthier they'll be. However, the problem with Lewis is that he's essentially a (very) poor man's version of McCoy. Even if he's as good as recent reports out of training camp suggest, Lewis will always be worse than McCoy at pretty much every phase of the game. Thus, having him replace McCoy is always a loss for the offense.

I think one of the reasons Correll Buckhalter was a good complement to Brian Westbrook is that he could do many of the same things, but had a different style and different strengths. It's (similar to) a comparative advantage problem.

Breakout? Maybe in a Different Uniform

Continuing the theme of hyping up fringe linebackers, John Breitenbach called Keenan Clayton a breakout candidate today:

Clayton still has a ways to go if he wants to see any meaningful action on the Eagle's defense. Still he's shown improvement from year 1 to year 2 and if the same happens as we move into year 3, he could surprise some people. He's buried on the depth chart at the moment but one injury could give him the chance he needs. Clayton also tends to show up in pre-season games (as he did in his rookie year) and he should thrive against third stringers. The Oklahoma product at least deserves a chance to show what he can do in the nickel, where he has the potential to be better than the rest of the Eagles' linebackers.

My take: Clayton seems to be above average in coverage, which is why he was used almost exclusively in the dime packages (1 LB, 6 DBs) last year. But he's still just a tweener: too slow to be a safety, too small to be an every-down linebacker. If the Eagles believe that Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, and Brian Rolle have starting potential, Clayton will have to beat out Akeem Jordan for the special teams LB job just to make the team.

All in the Family

There have been a number of poorly-written columns about yesterday's tragedy at Lehigh. This one by Reuben Frank is not one of those:

So why would the Eagles practice Sunday, just minutes after Garrett Reid’s death was announced? Why would Reid insist on being on the sideline Thursday night for the preseason opener against the Steelers? 
Because for Andy Reid, the definition of family is a broad one. It covers both his blood relatives and his players. His kids, his team. They’re all part of the same family. 

Mike Kafka's VooDoo Trainer

Tim McManus brings us the story of Mike Kafka’s trainer, Jay Schroeder, who has been with him since the QB’s sophomore year of college:

[Schroeder’s] technique literally came to him in a dream, and is based on the assumption that all humans are naturally fast, strong and powerful — it’s just that bad habits and external elements have essentially trained the mind wrong since birth, stunting some abilities. So he retrains it.
Through a series of tests performed by stimulating the nervous system, Schroeder unearths what muscles are not working and which ones are working out of order. Once that is determined, he sends messages to the brain via an electrical modality called POV (for force velocity) that gives the proper information on how to perform what you want to perform.

I can’t be the only one that thinks this doesn’t pass the smell test. Besides, if he’s been working with him for so long, why are the results only evident now? Here’s Schroeder’s website. And more of his SUPER ADVANCED training methods:

“We taught him how to lengthen the appropriate muscles at a high rate of speed so that he could decelerate in the appropriate means, which in turn tells your brain that you can accelerate at a higher level,” said Schroeder. “We prepare him to recover from the strain of arm strength.”

So… Kafka’s been lifting weights?

Jim Washburn is a Quote Machine

Reuben Frank compiled the full transcript of Jim Washburn’s session with the media earlier this week in two parts. It’s so glorious I’m having trouble picking my favorite parts.

“I can’t lie,” Washburn said. “That’s why they don’t want me to talk.”

Please keep talking, Wash.