Matthews’ phone rang the day after the Eagles’ preseason loss to the Pittsburgh
It was his
What advice did
Clay Matthews, the first-round draft pick who played in 278 NFL games spanning
19 seasons, offer the rookie starting middle linebacker?
“Nothing at all,”
Casey Matthews said Sunday. “I mean he just said you looked more comfortable
later on. So I guess it was pretty noticeable.”
Matthews and the
rest of the linebacker corps had a rough couple of series. But they calmed down
and began to get used to their new technique for fighting off blocks as the
first half wore on.
Juan Castillo, who said Matthews is “going to get better,” and linebackers coach
Mike Caldwell told Matthews to keep playing the way he did after his first two
series. Bear in mind, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played only two series’.
“Really the first
couple of series it’s just everything went fast,” Matthews said. “You’re
worried about getting lined up and getting other people lined up. Once you get
past that, once you calm down and let it come to you it makes it a lot easier.”
Castillo gently praised the progress of Matthews, who is getting off blocks
with his hands rather than conventionally with a shoulder. Castillo doesn’t want
to hear that the Eagles didn’t address the linebacker position in the offseason
because the team drafted Matthews in the fourth round, and in the previous two
drafts selected starters Jamar Chaney and Moise Fokou.
said “It takes time to develop kids,” he also made it clear doing so wouldn’t take
the entire year in this the all-in season.
will be ready to win the Super Bowl,” Castillo said. “Remember, it takes 16
weeks and then really whoever is playing their best during the playoffs.”
By then Castillo
is hopeful Matthews and the Eagles’ linebackers are proficient at fighting off
blocks with the new technique.
“If you look
around the league they usually teach you to take on blocks with shoulders but
here we’re trying to do it just using face and hands,” Matthews said. “It’s new
to everyone here. We’re trying to get it down. It’s a work in progress.
“Taking on a big
lineman with your face and hands doesn’t as give you as much power but if you
strike him quick enough it will stun him. Then you just get off him and make
sure he doesn’t grab him. If you use your shoulder he’ll just grab you.”
L l l
Marty Mornhinweg confirmed Sunday that rookie sixth-round pick Jason Kelce
would get the first-team snaps at center rather than veteran Jamaal Jackson.
coach Howard Mudd cannot wait any longer to see if Kelce is the one to build
the unit around.
the Eagles have thought about starting rookies Kelce and right guard Danny
Watkins next to each other. For now it’s not an issue.
“No decision has
been made,” Mornhinweg said of the starting center job. “There is great
competition there. Kelce has earned the opportunity to do this for a period of
time and then we'll make decisions as we go.”