NFC East: Ron Jaworski

Jaworski on Chip Kelly: 'He won me over'

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
Ron Jaworski is never afraid to express his opinion.

In a wide-ranging interview with 97.5 The Fanatic, Jaworski, an ESPN analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, discussed a variety of topics surrounding his former team.

On how coach Chip Kelly surprised him: "I wasn't sure how this was going to work. I wasn't a big believer in guys coming from the college ranks, leaving that rah-rah college style and bringing a new style to the NFL. Kelly made it happen. He won me over."

On Kelly's offensive scheme: "Chip Kelly did a great job of getting people wide open. I went through all these quarterback throws (across the league), I don't think anybody did a better job at getting receivers open than Chip Kelly. When you look at 400-500 throws of each quarterback and I see guys that are making these stick throws into double coverage and all these things, and I plug in Eagles tape and I'm seeing guys running open."

On adjusting to defenses in Year 2: "I will guarantee you this: every pass that he threw last year was studied and watched by 30 personnel guys with the three teams in this division. They studied Nick Foles to every possible nuance: Where is his foot when he is coming out from under center? Does his heel come up a split second before the snap? Does he flick his hand to get into position before the ball is snapped? They will study every nuance of his game on coaches tape, on television to hear his voice inflection, to see where he turns. Is the ball snapped when his head is looking downfield rather than left to right? All these things, they will have broken his game down. Nick has to make that adjustment. Now that teams have adjusted to him, does he adjust to what they do? It's the same thing with the system: the familiarity with the system for the Eagles is great but now all the teams are studying that system. What does Chip do? Does he take this offense to the next level?"

On losing three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson: "I think it's a big loss. I'm not buying into the, 'Oh, don't worry about it.' I saw this offense. I studied this offense. I know what DeSean Jackson did for everybody else -- what he did to clear zones and open up Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and that plethora of tight ends that they have."

Former Eagles weigh in on draft class

May, 21, 2014
May 21
In the recent NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles came away with seven players.

How did they do? Depends on whom you ask.

Comcast SportsNet's Derrick Gunn polled three former Eagles: ESPN analyst and former quarterback Ron Jaworski, Eagles radio analyst and former receiver Mike Quick, and former defensive back Herman Edwards.

The trio was interviewed by CSN at the 29th annual Ron Jaworski Golf Challenge last weekend.

Jaworski: "I think overall it was a very good draft. I think [Vanderbilt wide receiver] Jordan Matthews is going to be a tremendous, tremendous NFL player. I think [Louisville linebacker] Marcus Smith is going to be an outstanding player as well."

Quick: "It's totally different when you've played on one level and then you get to this level. Some of the best guys in college ball just weren't able to make that transition but from what I've seen and what I've read about the guys that were selected I think they had a really good draft."

Edwards: "We all sit here and try to give grades to drafts and basically the true grade happens three years from now. To say you actually know what a guy can be and become his first year ... we're kidding ourselves."

Jaworski: Redskins' offense stagnated

October, 26, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins knew defenses would adjust to what they ran last season. The hard part was making their own adjustments, at least to the extent they might have preferred.

But now that Robert Griffin III has played six games, the offense could start to evolve a little more. It’s among the aspects affected by Griffin missing the offseason after his January knee surgery.

“That’s been one of the problems this year,” ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski said. “The fact that Robert wasn’t available through the offseason to really expand the offense and the preseason, the offense is the same as it was last year … and with the injury, the offense is pretty much the same. Offenses go through maturation. There are things every year that you augment in the offseason. So in a certain degree it stagnated because of the injury. The offense is built around his ability to move.”

With Griffin moving much more the past two games, the offense is starting to have more success. Injuries and red-zone failures hurt them at Dallas, but last week the Redskins scored a season-high 38 points on offense and gained 499 yards, their highest total in four seasons under coach Mike Shanahan. Also, in the lat two weeks they've averaged 5.6 yards per carry while rushing for 425 yards, most in the NFL in that time.

“Any time you don’t have an offseason, there’s going to be some growth in that area,” Shanahan said, “especially when somebody’s coming off of an ACL. You get a chance to see what they can do as time goes on. I think we talked about early – you guys have been asking about the running game – I said, ‘Just be patient and kind of judge us as the year goes on.’ I think the last couple games we’ve had a couple hundred yards each game, and that’s not easily done. So hopefully we can build on that and be a very effective offense.”

Friday Conversation: Ron Jaworski

October, 25, 2013
ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski loves football and watching tape of football. He's watched plenty of Washington Redskins' games and has plenty of thoughts on Robert Griffin III, Jordan Reed and the defense. So here you go:

What have you thought of Robert Griffin III lately, especially last Sunday?

Ron Jaworski: He’s gradually gotten better. He clearly had flawed mechanics early in the season due to not being 100 percent healthy, but he’s gotten stronger every week. He’s been more mechanically sound. I still believe he missed some throws in this game. But clearly he’s getting healthier, the offense is getting better, there’s no question. You saw the designed runs which were very effective and that will present problems for the Broncos. The offense is now getting back to where it was last season when he was healthy.

You talked about his mechanics earlier this season, where is he better?

Jaworski: I really thought early in the year he wasn’t confident in that right leg. He wasn’t getting his leg back and driving and snapping those hips. I thought the ball lost energy at the end of throws because of that. I didn’t think he was right in the beginning of the season. He clearly now is getting weight on that back foot. I’ve seen him drive throws down the field, so clearly he’s getting much healthier.

When you talk about being close to last year, is it because of the dynamic element he can add?

Jaworski: Yeah first and foremost I see the legs now playing a bigger part in his throws, so that part he’s getting healthier with. He’s still not the dynamic runner he was a year ago. I don’t know if he’ll ever be the same dynamic runner that he was. He can certainly make a lot of plays. Last year when healthy he was extraordinary, the burst and getting around the edge. I see him making plays but I don’t see that burst when he was flying around last year. He may get better. It’s still too early to tell but clearly he’s not where he was running the ball last year. It speaks volumes for how he was last year.

What else jumped out at you from their offense?

Jaworski: I thought they went back to some of their more primary plays that they ran last year. When you look at the success last year it clearly was running the ball, certainly the ability of RG3 to take off balanced the defense and made them stay at home and that opened the play-action pass game. I saw more of that against Chicago than I’ve seen all season long, more of the offense in rhythm like it was for most of last season.

What did you think of Jordan Reed?

Jaworski: The guy will be sensational. He’s one of the guys that jumps off the tape at you. I like to use the word flash. We saw a little bit of it earlier this season but clearly against Chicago I saw a lot more of it. We were talking here, he reminded us on the field of an Aaron Hernandez. He has that kind of wide receiver movement for a big guy. This guy is going to scare the hell out of defenses. They can’t load up the box when you have the ability to get him down the field matched against linebackers and safeties. That’s a mismatch. He has a chance to be really good. We talk about splash plays; the splash plays against Chicago came from him.

Defensively, have you seen improvement?

Jaworski: Quite honestly, not a whole lot. I still think Jim Haslett does a great job in scheme, it’s well-designed. I saw a number of mental breakdowns against Chicago. They’ll have real challenges against Peyton Manning when he goes one back, one tight end and three wides. Who’s playing in the secondary? They could be very thin. Peyton can expose a weakness in a heartbeat so it’s a very difficult matchup because of their structure in the secondary right now.

Is there a kryptonite for Peyton right now?

Jaworski: There’s a kryptonite for all quarterbacks. I don’t want to simplify it but Robert Mathis had an outstanding game. He had quick pressure on Peyton. He was taking [James] Harrison’s bull rush and Peyton couldn’t finish a number of throws. When you watched it on TV you see the ball drop short and then you look at the All-22 and you see guys in his face and off the line being pushed back into him where he can’t plant, step and throw. All those little things that impact the quarterback. When you have elite quarterbacks the only way to slow them down is pressure them.

Can the Redskins’ defensive line, and Brian Orakpo, do what the Colts did?

Jaworski: Yeah I think they can create some pressure. They don’t have the speed and quickness Mathis has, which presents the first problem. It’ll be a combination of outside pressure, force Peyton to step up and have that push inside so he can’t drive the ball. The Redskins do a nice job when they have [Ryan] Kerrigan and Orakpo on the same side in the nickel package. It’s an effective package where you get a couple of really skilled athletes coming off one side. I expect to see some of that in this game. Both are very good pass-rushers. But you have to be creative and you have to create one-on-one matchups. I don’t think you blitz Peyton Manning. You have to throw a couple in there but he’s so good at decoding a blitz and getting the ball out of his hands so it’s risky. But you can’t let him sit back there as well, so you have to mix in the blitz and keep him off-balance.
Quick hit thoughts on the Redskins:
  1. Robert Griffin III’s absence has helped Kirk Cousins. While Griffin has a full season on which to build, Cousins only had 48 passes and a lot of reps with backups. But a full offseason of work with the starters has put him in a better spot. Cousins completed six of seven passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener vs. Tennessee. “I like what I see,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He has a good feel for what we’re doing and he has a good command of the offense. He did an excellent job in the game going through his progressions. There are a lot of times when as the second-team quarterback you don’t get the reps like you want. He’ll get those reps so it’s a big plus for his development.”
  2. Griffin understands the connection a fan wants to have with players. Griffin always manages to pump his helmet, give a wink or point in the direction of fans shouting to him during practice (during a down time). And he signs autographs every day for 15-20 minutes at a time. Griffin is aware of how fans respond to him compared to others. He said, “The only thing I worry about, and I talk to my teammates about it every day, I don’t want them to feel bad because the fans are cheering my name and not theirs. I don’t want them to feel bad because a little kid comes on the field and is supposed to be with them and comes to me. That’s the stuff that makes me feel bad. But as long as they don’t mind, then I don’t mind either. But the second that starts getting on their nerves then we’ll curb that real quick and make sure that all these guys get the appreciation and the attention they deserve.”
  3. Donte Stallworth's hamstring sidelined him for several days already and will keep him out of the second preseason game. But, mostly because of the depth at receiver, Stallworth still has a chance to make the Redskins’ roster. After their first five -- Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson -- the Redskins are thin. The sixth receiver, Dez Briscoe, had a rough preseason debut and is no lock. No young receiver has emerged and veteran Devery Henderson hasn’t stood out in camp. So Stallworth, if he can stay healthy, has a shot because he can block (a key component for an outside zone team) and play special teams. If you’re going to be one of the last wideouts on the roster you’d best do both. Of course, this assumes the Redskins keep six wideouts.
  4. Because the Redskins will keep four tight ends and, it appears, three quarterbacks, they’ll have interesting choices at other positions. They could go with four backs, including fullback Darrel Young, and stash one of their two rookie backs – Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison – on the practice squad. Or, if Thompson can’t get healthy, on injured reserve. But a big debate could be along the line. Do they keep eight or nine? They kept nine last year but eight in the previous two seasons. How important is it to them to keep a veteran backup? Because there’s a chance, if they kept eight, all three would be young and unproven: tackle Tom Compton and guards Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis. The vet backup tackle in 2010 was Stephon Heyer; in ’11 it was Sean Locklear and last season it was Jordan Black. If one is kept this year it likely would be Tony Pashos. But he’s still feeling the effects of not only a year’s absence in 2012, but also from developing bad habits while playing with torn tendons in his ankle in 2011.
  5. The Redskins have focused hard on the draft in this regime and there’s a good chance that 20 of their last 28 picks will make the final roster (with one, Keenan Robinson, on injured reserve). And seven draft choices in this regime are projected starters. Building through the draft (and having a franchise quarterback) will give them a chance to buck their history of the past two decades. They haven’t made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1991-92. Many factors go into this, but an inability to grow and develop their own talent is high on the list. Only two of their first six picks from the 2010 draft remain -- but those two are left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Perry Riley. Only two starters remain from the previous regime’s drafts: Brian Orakpo and tight end Fred Davis.
  6. The Redskins have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1991-92. They’ve only made the postseason four times since then, including last season. Their win total in seasons following a playoff berth: 8, 5, 8. This is a different team, with more stability -- and better players for that matter -- at key positions. Still, it’s been a long time since they’ve had sustained success. Now you understand why there’s so much love for Griffin -- and anxiety over his knee. Another factor will be turnovers. The Redskins were plus-17 in turnover differential last season. A big reason was Griffin’s ability to avoid killer mistakes. He did not throw an interception in the red zone last season.
  7. The Eagles could threaten the 1,100-play barrier on offense under coach Chip Kelly. Not that this is a guarantee for team success as no team has won a title since 1981 while cracking that mark. And there are still doubts about whether or not the Eagles have the right quarterback to run this attack. The Redskins, incidentally, ran 994 plays on offense and were fourth in points and fifth in yards. Just remember: quality, not quantity. "You want wins, and you want points, and you don't necessarily need more plays to do that -- you just need good ones," said Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, according to’s Jeff Legwold. “It will always be more about how you do it rather than how fast. You can have 50-play games where you were really good and 75-play games when it was a struggle."
  8. I agree with ESPN analyst, and former NFL general manager Bill Polian on this thought: “For people who really like Xs and Os, for football junkies like [Ron Jaworski] and myself and others at ESPN, this NFL season is going to be one of the most interesting in a long time… the idea of how people are going to defense the option is interesting and exciting, and how the new parts of the spread offense and the up tempo offense come into the National Football League and how they function and how people defend against them will be interesting.”
  9. It’s understandable that a team would be sloppier in the first preseason game, but 11 penalties is still way too many. The Redskins committed 116 penalties (16 more than the opposition) in 2012 so this was a bad way to begin. They were flagged for at least seven penalties nine times last year, though only once in the final six regular-season games. You can blame some of it on the replacement refs, but the Redskins averaged 8.4 penalties in the seven weeks after the real refs returned. They need to play more disciplined.
Coming in at No. 13 on Ron Jaworski's annual ranking of NFL quarterbacks is the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III. Here's what Jaws had to say about RG III on SportsCenter on Wednesday morning:
“It’s rare when I evaluate rookies so highly. I believe in performance over time. But in the case of Robert Griffin III, his individual play and his overall impact was so extraordinary, that he comes in at No. 13 on my quarterback big board.

“It began the opening game of the season against the Saints. You know what I loved about this play? RG III’s total awareness of what happened. Listen to him on the sideline. Let’s break the play down and explain what RG III was talking about. Here’s the play fake, and here’s the blitzing safety. There’s Niles Paul, the hot receiver. And there’s the linebacker RG III was talking about covering Paul. At that point, the defense won. That’s a remarkable reaction for a quarterback on his 12th play.

“RG III and the Redskins played offense differently than we had seen in the NFL. Their foundation was the option. RG III led all quarterbacks in rushing with over 800 yards. Often, it was the option. Other times, it was just pure speed. The key of course was the effectiveness of the passing game off the option. Look at the impact of the read-option on the safety. His eyes are focused in the backfield, with no awareness of Aldrick Robinson on the deep post right in front of him.

“As spectacular as RG III can be with his legs, it’s his passing ability that gives him a chance to be a very special player. That’s why I have him ranked 13th after just one season. The question is how will the Redskins handle RG III after his major knee injury? Will we see as much read-option? Or will Mike and Kyle Shanahan incorporate more NFL drop-back passing concepts? It will be a delicate balancing act, and I’m very intrigued to see it.”

So, what's interesting to me about this is that the reaction of Redskins fans to the ranking was that it was too low, while Jaws seems to be defending how high a ranking it was for a quarterback coming off his first year. The thing is, through process of elimination, we can determine that Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick all rank in the top 12, ahead of Griffin. (Here's the list through 15, and Jay Cutler was No. 14.) So while it might be rare for Jaws to rank a guy this high after his first year, he appears to have ranked three other guys in the same situation even higher. (And yes, I understand that Kaepernick was not a rookie last season, but he wasn't a starter in 2011, or even in the first part of 2012 for that matter.)

Personally, I'd definitely rank Griffin ahead of Kaepernick and Houston's Matt Schaub, who's apparently also in that top 12 (along with, in some order, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Joe Flacco). And I think you could certainly argue him over Luck or Wilson, though it's no slam-dunk. But then again, you could argue Tony Romo over any of those guys, and Jaws has him 15th. This is one man's opinion, folks, and not only is it one to which he has the right, it's one at which he's arrived after extensive film study and consideration of all of these guys. Easy for fans to pick apart, but he's watching all of them, not just his favorites.

It's also important to note that Griffin is, currently, an injured player. He did not participate in the organized activities of the offseason, and might not be ready for training camp or the start of the season as he continues to recover from the major reconstructive knee surgery he had in January. As upbeat as everyone is about the likelihood of Griffin's recovery, he hasn't yet completed it, and there's no way to know when or if he'll ever be back to full strength. Downgrading him because of the injury is legitimate, as is downgrading him because of the possibility that his playing style and/or the effects of two reconstructions of the same knee in a three-year stretch could make him less effective going forward.

It's tempting to rank Griffin highly because of the greatness we glimpsed in his first season. But in the end, it might be wise to rank him more cautiously until we see it again, and for a longer period of time.

Oh, and a h/t to Twitter follower Ryan Pence (@pencerm) for the "RG XIII" in the headline. He thought of that first.
Ron Jaworski's daily countdown of the top quarterbacks in the NFL rolls on, and he's got the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo ranked No. 15 this year:
"I have always liked Romo, but his play in the final regular season game of the 2012 season with the NFC East title on the line still bothers me. You just can’t make mistakes, regardless of whose fault it is. It was the fourth quarter interception with three-and-one-half minutes remaining and the Cowboys trailing by three. That I just can’t forget. You can’t make a throw with no definition in that particular situation, regardless of the pressure.

“Then I look at Romo one week earlier. Two big-time drives in the final five minutes against the Saints, tying the game with 21 seconds remaining. Back-to-back weeks, two different Romos. Those kinds of peaks and valleys is why Romo is No. 15 on my board. I love his talent, and there’s no doubt perception has overtaken reality in the negative world view of Romo, but I would like to see more overall consistency in his play. He’s capable of it.”

Now, you can argue that Jaws has Romo too low on his list. I personally feel he does. But what you can't argue is that Romo has himself to blame for the fact that this can still be the reason for downgrading him on a list like this. All of the things people say in support of Romo are true. He succeeds in spite of a rotten offensive line, makes plays other quarterbacks can't make when the play breaks down. The one-playoff-win thing can't be laid entirely at his feet. He led the Cowboys back from behind over and over again last year in real games that counted in the standings in order just to get them into that division title game in Washington. All of that is true.

But it's also true that he threw the three interceptions in that game, after a half-season in which his interception problem had lay dormant. And it's true that this is the one consistent thing that keeps Romo from the top level of rankings like this -- his maddening tendency to make mistakes in these big moments and big games. It is the one thing about his game that he needs to correct if he's to be ranked among the great quarterbacks in the game today, and even if such rankings don't matter to him, it's fair to say that correcting this issue would help him and the Cowboys attain the heights for which they strive.

So you can disagree with Jaws here, as I do. But as we have discussed here at length, one of Romo's biggest problems is that he continues to give his critics ammunition. If the whole world is sitting there waiting for you to throw three interceptions in the biggest game of the year so it can say, "See! I told you that guy was no good!", and you do it, then there's really not a lot you can say when they continue to underestimate you. Great as Romo has shown he can be, there's still too great a chance of his making a mistake at the worst possible time. Even his staunchest defenders can't deny this, especially not after that Washington game last year. The truly great quarterbacks are the ones we expect to succeed in the biggest spots. Romo's still a guy you fear will fail. And until he changes that, the people who want to rank him outside the top 10 for that reason are justified.
Our man Ron Jaworski is engaged once again in his annual "QB countdown," in which he ranks the top 32 NFL quarterbacks in order and reveals one per day until he gets to No. 1. Last year, since Jaws didn't include rookies in his rankings, we were able to wait until deep into the countdown before the NFC East was affected. This year, not so much.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who ranked 12th on Jaws' list last year, is at No. 25 this year:
"Vick is coming off of a disappointing 2012 season, but all will be different in Philadelphia with a new head coach in Chip Kelly. And I’m certain of one thing -- Vick is the most talented quarterback on the Eagles roster. Vick remains a dynamic player with top-level arm strength and unmatched movement ability to extend plays with his legs. Few can spin it as well as number 7, especially on the run. Kelly will look at Vick and see a multidimensional quarterback that can pressure a defense in a variety of ways.

“Vick can get to the edge and outflank the defense, he can beat you from the pocket with an explosive vertical arm that can lift the top off the coverage, and he presents multiple options in the red zone with his movement. The concern of course, is turnovers. Vick had far too many in 2012. Fifteen of them in 10 games; four of those 15 came in the red zone.

“Here’s the positive as the Eagles transition to Kelly’s shotgun, spread attack. Vick was outstanding in the two-minute offense last season with a quarterback rating of 98. I am going to be fascinated to see Michael Vick in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo-speed offense. My initial sense is it will fit Vick very well, less volume offensively, but also defensively. I would not be surprised if Vick ends the season better than my 25th-rated quarterback.”

Sure, and neither would anyone else. But there Vick sits nonetheless, likely as a nod to the possibility that he begins the season as the Eagles' second- or third-rated quarterback behind Nick Foles and/or Matt Barkley. Obviously, Jaws' first sentence there indicates that neither Foles nor Barkley is in his top 24, but we all feel pretty confident that talent alone won't hand Vick the job if he doesn't show during training camp an ability to limit turnovers, get rid of the ball quickly and make good, smart, safe decisions at the helm of Kelly's offense.

I'm on record as saying I think Vick will win the job out of camp, since I think he's considerably better than the other options Kelly has. But after what he's shown the past two years, it's hard to argue too strongly against a ranking like this on a list like this one.
Our man Ron Jaworski has studied some tape of Chip Kelly's Oregon teams and has some concerns about Kelly's ability to bring the concepts he used in college with him to the NFL. Per Sheil Kapadia:
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaws said during an interview with Harry Mayes and Nick Kayal on 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this week. “I’m going to say no.”

“I just don’t see NFL passing concepts in this offense. It’s a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts.”

Jaws added that he’s had several conversations with Kelly and hopes he’s wrong. But he offered an honest assessment of what he’s seen on tape.

Sure, and look. It's entirely possible that Kelly is a college-to-pro flop in the tradition of Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban. But it's also possible that he's a smart guy who understands that what worked in the Pac 12 isn't going to work if he tries to transplant it whole-hog into the NFL. It's possible that the NFL version of Kelly's offense has downfield NFL passing concepts. Certainly, if Michael Vick is the quarterback, Kelly will have a stronger-armed passer than he ever had at Oregon and would be foolish not to find a way to take advantage of that.

I think it's understandable for analysts to be asked and to offer their opinions on what the Eagles will be with Kelly running them. I understand the excitement over new things and the eagerness to know as much as possible about them as soon as possible. But I really think it's important to remember that none of us -- Kelly likely included -- yet knows what Kelly's offense is going to look like in Philadelphia. It is May 22. The first games are still nearly four months away. And any reasonable judgment on whether Kelly can or can't succeed as an NFL coach is much further away than that.
We have not mentioned Ron Jaworski's quarterback countdown on this blog yet, because until today it had yet to affect the NFC East. Jaws is counting down his top 30 NFL quarterbacks on SportsCenter, one day at a time, in reverse order. Washington Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III and Colts rookie Andrew Luck are not included in the countdown, so only three from our division are. And it turns out all three are in the top 12.

No. 12 was revealed Friday morning on SportsCenter (you might be able to catch it still on one of the afternoon reruns), and it was Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

Jaws professes his belief that there's no other quarterback in the league with Vick's combination of passing ability and running ability, which is true. His problem with Vick, as he puts it, is "his willingness to run -- to play the position outside the pocket, outside the structure of the offense." He shows a play from the game in Buffalo in which Vick faced no pressure and never set his feet to throw, clearly indicating that he'd already decided, pre-snap, to run the ball. On the play in question, Vick fails to see a wide-open Jason Avant.

Now, I've mentioned a few times that it doesn't look, when you watch from the press box, that Vick is especially good at reading the field and finding open receivers. Perhaps this idea of Jaworski's is part of that -- perhaps he just makes up his mind too quickly.

All of that said, Jaws points out that this is the first full offseason since 2006 that Vick has worked as a starting quarterback, and he believes Vick can become a more disciplined player. "A more disciplined player will result in fewer turnovers," he says. "I would not be surprised if we're getting ready to see the best year of Vick's 10-year career."

I can agree with that. I don't know what kind of year Vick has, or the extent to which he'll be a more disciplined player. But I certainly wouldn't be surprised by anything we see from Vick. We know he's capable of doing things no one else can -- of giving the Eagles a huge matchup advantage at the quarterback position in any given week. The Eagles just need him to do it every week.

And yeah, this means Tony Romo and Eli Manning are in the top 11. And yes, I know their rankings and when their segments roll out. But no, I'm not telling you.

NFC East links: How Vick can improve

April, 5, 2011
Dallas Cowboys continues its series examining likely first-round draft picks for the Cowboys by taking an in-depth look at Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo.

Don't expect Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to be suiting up for the Cowboys next fall.

New York Giants begins a series examining the Giants' draft needs by position, starting with the quarterbacks.

Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder is in New York and rumored to possibly be visiting the Giants.

Philadelphia Eagles

Asked whether rookies should boycott the draft, receiver DeSean Jackson said, "The biggest advice I think I would give them is, that's an experience you only get one time. Don't let that experience go by."

Former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski talked about what Michael Vick needs to do to improve as a quarterback.

Washington Redskins

Responding to comments Drew Brees made in 2009 about some former NFL players needing financial assistance, former Skins great Sam Huff wrote: "I know about the players of the '50s and '60s, and they gave everything imaginable to make the game what it is today. Some of those players need help from the NFLPA. They deserve it, and Drew Brees needs better credentials before he makes such derogatory statements about those players."

Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed is scheduled to visit the Redskins later this week.

Remembering Don Meredith

December, 6, 2010
ESPN will have tributes to the great Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith during "Monday Night Countdown" and at halftime of the game tonight. Here's what a few ESPN personalities had to say about Meredith, who died at age 72.

Ron Jaworski: "I had the pleasure of meeting Don a few times. He was a guy I admired as much as anyone, both as a player and as an analyst. His great work inspired me to always be prepared and to have fun doing it. He loved what he did and it always showed. We’re going to miss him."

Jon Gruden: "I used to sneak downstairs and watch Don and "Monday Night Football" when I was supposed to be asleep in bed growing up. He was special. Those crews had a lot of fun together and I always loved hearing him sing, ‘Turn out the lights, the party’s over.’"

Chris Berman: "Don Meredith was a television pioneer who made pro football real, even for non-football fans. I can't remember watching a "Monday Night Football" telecast, and I've seen a few, where Dandy Don failed to make me smile."

Beast prediction Friday

October, 15, 2010
It's at this time every week the Beast blog throws down its predictions for Sunday -- and occasionally Mondays. First, let's find out what the experts are saying about the four games involving NFC East teams.

Detroit Lions at New York Giants: All eight experts picked the Giants, which shouldn't come as a surprise. Is this the week the Giants start running away with the division? There's a decent chance the other three teams lose, so a 4-2 record could be big.

Mosley's pick: Giants 27, Lions 17: I respect the fine work of Lions coach Jim Schwartz, but the Giants have too many weapons at receiver right now and Ahmad Bradshaw's one of the top backs in the league. And no one will be able to block Justin Tuck in this game. You heard it here first.

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles: I was surprised that only one member of our distinguished panel picked the Eagles to win at home. Do we really have this much respect for the Falcons? Only Mark Schlereth made the brave choice to pick Philadelphia. But he's about to have company.

Mosley's pick: Eagles 24, Falcons 21: Quarterback Kevin Kolb will give Andy Reid something to think about when he throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns.

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings: This is another surprising breakdown from the experts. Apparently they think the Cowboys' talent will be too much for Brett Favre and the Vikings. I figured the Vikings would win out with the experts. Mike Golic, Ron Jaworski and Schlereth were the only experts to go with the home team. I picked the Cowboys for, but I've changed my mind since finding out that Andre Gurode is banged up.

Mosley's pick: Vikings 28, Cowboys 20

Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins: Eric Allen, Merril Hoge and Jaworski all picked the Skins over the Colts. Folks are starting to believe that Mike Shanahan can will this team to the playoffs. This is another great test.

Mosley's pick: Colts 28, Redskins 21

Beast prediction Friday: Giants win

October, 8, 2010
We do it every Friday afternoon right here on the NFC East blog. It's time to see what our panel of experts think about this weekend's four games involving Beast teams. Will Adam Schefter hop back on the Mike Shanahan bandwagon that was briefly driven by yours truly last week? Let's find out.

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins: Only Ron Jaworski and Chris Mortensen mustered the courage to pick the Skins. I'm afraid the Redskins' lack of weapons on offense will catch up with them this week. I like Ryan Torain but Shanahan's going to have to lean on him too heavily in this game.

Mosley's pick: Packers 23, Redskins 13

New York Giants at Houston Texans: Only Schefter picked Tom Coughlin's team to win this game. I'm a bit surprised that everyone has so much confidence in the Texans. I loved what Perry Fewell's defense did to Jay Cutler and the Bears. I think you'll see more of the same Sunday.

Mosley's pick: Giants 20, Texans 17

Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys: Mike Golic was the only panelist to pick Jeff Fisher's team. There's a belief that the Cowboys righted the ship against the Texans two weeks ago. I don't think the Titans can move the ball on this defense.

Mosley's pick: Cowboys 27, Titans 17

Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers: It's like the panel is trying to will the 49ers to their first win of the season. Golic once again stands alone in his decision to select the Eagles. Is this a lack of respect for Kevin Kolb or faith in the embattled Mike Singletary?

Mosley's pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 21

In defense of Eagles fans ...

September, 30, 2010
One of the things we'll be looking for Sunday at The Linc is what kind of reception quarterback Donovan McNabb receives when he takes the field with the Washington Redskins.'s Jemele Hill joined the parade of folks writing about this topic Wednesday, and she was pretty harsh toward Eagles fans.

"The team traded him to a hated division rival," writes Hill. "That sent a crisp message about the franchise's sentiment. And considering that some meathead fans had the nerve to burn McNabb's jersey when he was traded -- as if he had asked to be dealt -- why wouldn't this same, often hateful fan base take one more chance to kick McNabb in the figurative shin?"

First of all, I don't think a couple of idiots burning a jersey represents how most of the fan base feels about McNabb. I'm convinced that McNabb will receive a standing ovation when he's introduced before the game. He's unquestionably the best quarterback in the history of the franchise and I think fans will appreciate him more and more as the years go by.

More than anything, fans were simply tired of all the near misses. McNabb had been brilliant at times during his 11 seasons, but his performances in those four NFC title-game losses and in the Super Bowl have to be considered. And as I wrote Wednesday, it always seemed like fans thought McNabb was too flippant after mistakes or losses.

I think McNabb has a lot better shot at being beloved in Philly after he's been retired for a few years. It's not like Eagles fans lavished Ron Jaworski with unconditional support during his tenure. But the fact that he lives there and is very accessible has made him one of the most popular former players in franchise history.

Eagles fans simply got a case of McNabb fatigue after 11 years. But I think they'll show their appreciation Sunday afternoon. And by the way, I've been tipped off that an Eagles fan named Charles Barkley will be wearing a McNabb Redskins jersey to show his support.