Tag Archives: Nate Allen

Cary Williams rips Chip Kelly’s Practice Methods, says Team is Burnt Out Before Games

22 Sep

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson speeds past Eagles cornerback Cary Williams for a 81-yard touchdown pass. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson speeds past Eagles cornerback Cary Williams for a 81-yard touchdown pass. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—For the first three games of the season, the Eagles have gutted out wins by overcoming slow starts and coming from behind to win.

In Sunday’s 37-34 win over Washington at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles overcame a 10-point deficit and withstood a late Washington rally that included a few fights and some trash talk from former Birds wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

But not all is happy in the Eagles 3-0 paradise—at least for one player.

While everyone in the Eagles locker room celebrated a hard-fought victory over a division rival, the way the Birds have won does not sit well with cornerback Cary Williams. He said the team’s slow starts are because they come into the game already tired because practice is too exhausting during the week.

“We got to do a better job of taking care of our players during the week,” Williams said while talking to reporters at his locker. “We gotta do a better job of making sure everybody is ready on Sunday and people should be popping out of their skin on Sunday.”

Throughout his tenure as the Eagles head coach, Chip Kelly has been preaching about taking a more scientific approach in terms of conditioning, players getting proper rest, diet, and special sports drinks to go along with practicing at a fast-pace. Williams is definitely not a big fan and said it’s affecting the team on the field.

“Something has to change, something must be done and I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m just man enough to stand before you and let you know we gotta fight during the week and then we gotta fight on Sunday. It’s not fair it’s difficult to do that in this league because everybody has talent,” Williams said.

“If you’re not physically ready for a game, things get tough for you, especially in the defensive back field. We gotta learn to save our legs, man. We gotta learn to get the recovery in. We gotta learn to do a lot of things. Right now, we’re not getting it.”

Even though the Eagles managed to pull the game out, Williams said the fatigue got worse in the second half, which may explain why he and safety Nate Allen got burned on an 81-yard touchdown pass from Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to Jackson late in the third quarter.

“It got worse because you go into the games with no legs, how do you expect to finish with no legs?” Williams said. “It is what it is, man. We put up too many reps, man. You can’t continue to run guys in into the ground and expect us to be ready on Sunday.”

During the game itself, Washington rolled up 511 yards of total offense-including 427 yards passing.
While the games have been thrilling and entertaining for the fans, Williams said the Eagles can’t keep winning at the rate they’re going and it’s taking a toll on him physically.

“I’m burnt out, burnt out,” Williams said. “I’m not the only guy that feels burnt out. I’m just man enough to stand up for the players and just say that we’re burnt out. It’s exhaustion from practices. We didn’t get a day off this week, your body’s tired. You break down eventually … It shows our resilience. It shows our toughness. …You can’t continue to run your team into the ground and expect great results.”

Williams said his teammates are feeling the same way and hinted that the players who were saying they were fine with Kelly’s practice methods last season weren’t being honest.

“You gotta be politically correct all the time,” Williams said. “Take those words with a grain of salt.”

By the time Williams was finished talking with the media, most of the Eagles players had cleared the locker room. Eagles tight end James Casey said he didn’t have any problems with Kelly’s practice methods.

“That’s a person-to-person kind of case,” Casey said. “We work really hard on our offense and on our team. (Kelly) prides himself on the sports science kind of stuff and also taking care of our bodies. We’re 3-0, something’s working right.”

Casey said outside of a few nicks and bruises that he was feeling okay after today’s game.

“We do a lot during the week, but everyone’s fine and we’re winning a football games,” Casey said.

Williams said he was not fine—not before the game, during the game nor after the game.

“We play a game before the game,” he said. “My legs hurt. My legs were done in the fourth quarter, my legs were done in the third quarter. My legs were done before the game.”

It will be interesting to hear Kelly’s reaction to Wiliams’ comments during his day-after game press conference.

Countdown to Training Camp: Can Malcolm Jenkins Lead the Eagles Secondary

17 Jul

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

PHILADELPHIA—The last time the Eagles had a true enforcer at the safety position was in January of 2009 when Brian Dawkins started for the Birds in the NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins walking off the field with Eagles backup quarterback Mark Sanchez. Jenkins is fast becoming the leader of the Eagles secondary. Photo by Chris Murray.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins walking off the field with Eagles backup quarterback Mark Sanchez. Jenkins is fast becoming the leader of the Eagles secondary. Photo by Chris Murray.

Since then, none of Dawkins successors at that position have come close to matching his intensity or effectiveness at that position. For all that was said about the improvement of the defense in 2013, the Birds defensive coaches were not happy with the play at the safety position-both free and strong.

The Eagles pass defense ranked 32nd in passing yardage and the coaching staff attributed that to the back end of the defense at the safety position. Assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght said tackling was the main culprit.

“In an NFL defense, you have to have great tacklers at the safety position because that’s the last line of defense,” Lyght said. “Last year, we missed some tackles at the safety spot that really hurt us and gave up some big yards. That’s part of the game. That’s one area we’ve addressed and we’re going to get better at. … The big thing for us is that we have to be tacklers in the secondary.”

Malcolm Jenkins (27) participates in minicamp drills in late June. Photo by Chris Murray.

Malcolm Jenkins (27) participates in minicamp drills in late June. Photo by Chris Murray.

The most notable acquisition from the offseason is former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis likes Jenkins versatility because he’s also played at the cornerback position. He said Jenkins is a physical player who is also good at pass coverage.

“I think Malcolm is going to wear a lot of hats for us and hopefully there’s a lot of big hits in the secondary and Malcolm’s apart of that,” Davis said. “His ability to cover, his ability to play multiple roles and wear a lot of hats is what attracted us to him. … He’s not just a box hitter or a post safety, he can do both. I think those are the things that separate Malcolm.”

Last season with the Saints, Jenkins had 68 (44 solo) tackles season with two forced fumbles, two interceptions and six passes defended.
Jenkins said he wants to bring his knowledge of opposing offenses, his ability to deliver a hard hit and his knack for covering receivers.

“In the secondary I feel we have the toughest jobs out on the field and the safety position is demanding because you have to need the knowledge to put guys in the right position because you’re the quarterback of the defense,” Jenkins said.

“It’s also becoming one of those positions where you have to be in the box but you also have to cover receivers and cover tight ends. It’s very demanding both physically and mentally.”

What has impressed the coaching staff about Jenkins during the organized team activities and minicamp is his leadership on and off the field working with players like Earl Wolfe and Nate Allen.

“Malcolm Jenkins is a great leader,” Lyght said. “I love what he’s brought to the room. His intelligence, his tenacity, his intensity in practice and I love his leadership qualities because he doesn’t really get on the players, but the way he leads, he turns everything into a competition which elevates everybody’s intensity.”

Lyght said that Jenkins has had a positive influence on younger players like Wolfe, who went from sitting in the back of the class during film sessions to up front with Jenkins.

Davis said Jenkins often leads the group in film sessions and meetings long before the coaches come into room to get things started.

“They’ve had meetings without us which is a great sign,” Davis said. “These guys get together and they watch film. They’ve got 100 questions. These are the signs that the guys are doing their work.”

During minicamp, Jenkins made that he’s not necessarily the inside the box free safety that Dawkins was or is going to play the role that Earl Thomas plays in the Seattle Seahawks secondary.

“One of the reasons they brought me in is because for this specific scheme you need safeties that can be versatile you don’t have a true free or strong safety,” Jenkins said. “Both guys have to play in the box, both have to cover receivers and both have tight ends and have to be the quarterback.”

 

Eagles Secondary Comes up Big in Win over Cardinals

2 Dec

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Cary Williams intercepts a Carlson Palmer pass in the Eagles 24-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Cary Williams intercepts a Carlson Palmer pass in the Eagles 24-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—The Eagles secondary came into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals knowing that they had a tough assignment going up against Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the Cards physical receiving corps.

The Birds corners and safeties figured that Cardinals receivers were going to get their fair share of catches in the game, but they were determined to not allow them to totally dominate the game.

“They were going to try to be physical with us,” said safety Nate Allen. “So we knew we had to be physical and re-route them and get our hands on them and mess up their timing on the routes and I think we did a good job of that today.”

They won some battles and they lost a few battles, but more importantly the Eagles secondary helped the Eagles to win the war in a 24-21 win over the Cardinals Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

“I believe the refs let us play today and that was a good thing,” said Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher. “When you go up against guys like Floyd and Fitzgerald and you can be a little more physical, it definitely helps out.”

It could be argued, especially by the Cardinals receivers, that there were a few penalties against the defense that weren’t called in the game. On the flip side of that, Arizona receivers did their share of pushing off, too.

“If the wide receivers are going to play us physically, we’re entitled to our space,” said Eagles cornerback Cary Williams. “If a wide receiver runs into me, I’m entitled to get my hands up in defense, if I happen to hold, it’s a part of the game. They were pushing off the whole game, in my opinion, but I like those kinds of games because you’re out there being physical. You’re the playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Not only did the Birds secondary get a pair of interceptions, but they kept Fitzgerald and company from dominating the game. None of the Cardinals receivers had more than 100 yards in receptions. Michael Floyd had five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown while Fitzgerald had five catches for 72 yards.

“I think we had a great game-plan in place,” said Williams, who had one of those two interceptions off Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. “I think (defensive coordinator Billy) Davis called a good game today.

“Some scenarios we weren’t very good in communication, but for the most part secondary-wise we played pretty good thanks to the pass rush. Without that, I don’t think it would have as dominant of a performance.”

Eagles safety Nate Allen get his first interception of the year against the Cardinals. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Eagles safety Nate Allen get his first interception of the year against the Cardinals. Photo by Webster Riddick.

The Eagles front-seven had five sacks and forced a fumble. They constantly put pressure on Palmer throughout the game. That made it easier for the corners to go one-on-one with the Cardinals receivers.

“Those guys stepped up and took on the challenge of playing this top receiving group and there were a lot of times when they were one-on-one today,” Davis said. “Throughout the game, I was mixing in brackets and combos and clouds over the top of them, but there were a lot of snaps where it was ‘hey get your man, you gotta hold up and they did.”

After giving up a pair of second-half touchdown passes that enable to Cardinals to overcome a 24-7 deficit, the Eagles secondary clamped down on the Arizona receivers late in the game when it mattered most.

The Cardinals started their final drive at their own 10 yard-line with 2:03 left in the game, but only got as far as their own 15. On the game’s final three plays, the Eagles defensive backs allowed no room for Cardinals receivers to get open. On fourth down, Fletcher batted away a Palmer pass to Floyd.

“Fletch made a great play on that curl route and that was huge, getting off the field like that,” said Allen, who also had an interception in the game. “When push comes to shove and it’s ‘hey make a play or keep the drive going, Fletch did a great job with that.”