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Podcast Recap: Memories Of Jim Johnson


On this week’s episode of the Eagles Insider Podcast, Chris McPherson, Fran Duffy, and Alex Smith took an in-depth look at Philadelphia's upcoming matchup with the New York Giants. Later in the episode, beginning at the 15:13 mark, McPherson sat down with tackle Lane Johnson to talk about a number of topics, including quarterback Sam Bradford's impromptu locker room speech prior to Sunday's 39-17 win over the Saints.

"It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing right before we went out," Johnson said. "He said, 'We have the talent, we have the ability, it's just about going out there and getting it done. Focus on what you have to do and get your job done.' That's kind of what we owe to this team, because the defense has been playing really well the past couple games.

"It definitely got me fired up, because he's not a guy who says a whole lot."

The Eagles' offense went on to amass 519 yards of total offense, their highest mark on the year by 120 yards. A big reason for that success was the play of Johnson and the offensive line, who opened up holes through which Philadelphia's trio of running backs was able to find daylight while also giving Bradford enough time to make plays downfield in the passing game.

With the Giants coming to town on Monday night, Johnson believes his unit will have a unique challenge on their hands, even with New York missing its sack leader from last season, Jason Pierre Paul (12.5 sacks).

"I think Cullen Jenkins is one of their best interior linemen, so we have to watch out for him," he said. "Kerry Wynn's a guy on the outside who I think will rotate in with George Selvie. Selvie's a veteran player, and Wynn's a big guy, 270 pounds, and they have Robert Ayers, who's probably their best pass rusher now.

"We have to dominate the defensive line in order to get this win."

At the 28:30 mark, Duffy took over the mic for Enemy Intel, speaking at length about the impact Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. might make on Monday if his injured hamstring doesn't keep him out of the lineup. He also touched on key defensive players for New York.

At the 36:50 point of the show, the three played a game called "Two Truths and an Eli," in which they were presented three statements about the NFL and had to guess which was one was incorrect.

And from 48:10 until the end of the show, they answered questions submitted by fans.

Each week, Fran Duffy and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell take an in-depth look at the all-22 tape from the Sunday prior, breaking down what worked, what didn't and what lies ahead for the Eagles. In this week’s episode of the Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast, the two discussed Philadelphia's breakout offensive performance against the Saints in its 39-17 victory, what's allowed the defense to be so impressive through five games and what the team will need to do to beat the 3-2 New York Giants on Monday Night Football.

Quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 333 yards in the game, completing 32 of the 45 passes he attempted (71.1 percent) and tossing two touchdowns after two interceptions early in the game. Cosell talked about what he saw schematically that may have allowed the first-year Eagle to put together such a strong performance after struggling early in the season.

"Prior to the Saints game, they played four games. In those four games, they lined up in what we call '12 Personnel' – one back, two tight ends, and two wide receivers – only 22 times," he said. "Against the Saints, that '12 Personnel,' they lined up 24 times. More in this one game against the Saints than they had in the previous four."

The result of this adjustment from the coaching staff was eye-opening.

"(They had) 12 runs and 12 passes," he continued. "The 12 rushes gained 50 yards, and you know what Bradford was out of those 12 throws in '12 Personnel?' (He was) 11 for 12 for 158 yards and a touchdown."

On the other side of the ball, the two spoke at length about the remarkable play of defensive end Fletcher Cox, who notched six tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery against New Orleans en route to NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. 

"I thought that his sack and (forced) fumble was a really outstanding play," said Cosell. "It came out of their base 3-4, and it came on run-action away from him. So he started to flow to the run-action, and he redirected. ... And then the athleticism to not only make the sack, but to then dive on the ball, that play showed everything about Fletcher Cox."

With the team set to take on the Giants and a defense commanded by former Jim Johnson disciple Steve Spagnuolo, Duffy also spoke to former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese, who talked at length about what it was like to play for Johnson. The late defensive visionary is one of the most beloved assistants in Eagles history and coached Philadelphia to a top-five defense in 2008 before his death in the following summer at the age of 68. The interview begins at the 26:48 mark of the show.

"(Being a blitzer in his defense) came with a lot of responsibility. I enjoyed it, because I felt like he wouldn't have given it to me if he didn't think I could do it," Reese said. "Earning the trust of Jim Johnson was a big thing. It was a huge thing, when you consider only Brian Dawkins had his trust."

To close out the episode, Duffy talked to Bill Rabinowitz, a beat writer who covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. The two discussed the Buckeyes and took a look ahead to the 2016 NFL Draft. That begins at the 32:11 mark.

On a new episode of the Journey To The Draft Podcast, Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy talked about the week that was in college football and highlighted six 2016 NFL Draft prospects who don't have prototypical size in honor of running back Darren Sproles and Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Here's a closer look at the players Duffy examined:

QB Cody Kessler, USC

Kessler, a fifth-year senior, is in his third season as lead signal-caller for the Trojans. After tossing 39 touchdowns and just five interceptions last year, he began this season with 15 touchdowns to just one interception through four games. But in a loss to Washington on Saturday, he was held without a touchdown for just the second time since his sophomore year. The 6-1 quarterback has completed 68.1 percent of his passes while with USC and is considered by analysts a mid-round prospect in next year's draft.

RB DeAndre Washington, Washington

Washington hasn't garnered a ton of national attention to this point, but after breaking out for 188 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-52 loss to TCU two weeks back he's a name to pay attention to coming into the draft. At 5-8, the senior running back is a threat both as a rusher and as a receiver out of the backfield and has amassed 745 yards of total offense on 101 touches from scrimmage (7.4 yards per touch) through six games so far this season. 

RB Russell Hansbrough, Missouri

Hansbrough, a senior, rushed for 1,000 yards last season at Missouri, but with the emergence of sophomore back Ish Witter he's seen his touches decrease in 2015. Still, on 33 attempts this year, he's gained 166 yards, good for 5.0 yards per carry.

DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame

Projecting Sheldon Day as a potential 2016 selection, the 6-2, 285-pound senior would likely slide outside to the end position in a 3-4. Through six games this season, he's notched 21 tackles, eight of which have come behind the line of scrimmage, two sacks, and a pass deflection.

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

After notching nine sacks in 13 games as a junior last year, Striker already has 4.5 through five games. Four of his sacks have come in the last two games combined, and he figures to be one of the better rush linebackers in this year's class.

CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota

A 5-11 senior, Boddy-Calhoun has missed each of Minnesota's last two games with a knee injury. Last season, he picked off five passes and made 51 tackles, and through four games this season he's picked off one pass and made 21 tackles.

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