Thanks to ATV of Las Vegas for pointing me to Jimmy Kempski's informative work at Blogging the bEast.com... This is an independent blog that's very Eagles-biased since Kempski is an editor at BleedingGreen.com... but Kempski himself admits that bias as he strives to cover all four rivals in the NFC East.
It's tough to give decent coverage to any one team let alone four teams in the same division... But Jimmy Kempski is giving it a go. Like us here, he strives to avoid the chains of media slavery and come up with original discussions of what's really going on inside the confines of an NFL franchise. On that basis alone, he is worth your time to look him up. He also tries to bring in actual chalk sessions and breakdowns of plays and formations. I used to look solely to Dan Graziano of CBSSPorts.com for my NFC East bloggage...but thanks to ATV, Jimmy Kempski is now in the mix.
I tried to find a current photo and an updated bio of Kempski for this piece, but it seems he is a little camera-shy. Here is the best bio info I could dig up, and it is in his own words and picture from his "About" page at Blogging the bEast.com:
"I’m Jimmy Kempski, born and raised in South Jersey (Eagles territory), currently residing in North Jersey (Giants territory). I may as well just come clean – I am (and always will be) a huge Eagles fan. I also write for the great Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation, and contribute at SNY.tv (writing about the Giants), as well as The Washington Post."
"I’ve covered both Eagles’ and Giants’ home games from their press boxes, as well as the Eagles’ and Giants’ training camps, the NFL Combine, the Senior Bowl, blah blah blah. My major in college was Radio/TV/Film, which should come in handy for the video features I plan on implementing. I formerly worked for a research company, and in my time there I picked up a thing or two on knowing how to gather difficult-to-find information, as well as knowing the importance of drawing conclusions from factual information. I’ve been in sales for over 10 years, which has aided me in writing convincing arguments. I’ve wasted countless hours reading sports blogs, and have a good understanding of what works, and what’s junk. And most importantly, I’ve been a hardcore football fan since birth."
Here's a guy who's putting his love for the sport on the line, as Kempski admits he is already $4 K in the hole in the funding of his own website. His material is certainly worthy of getting picked up by a network... as you may judge for yourself by visiting his site.
The amazing thing is Kempski has somehow parlayed his "NFC bEast" trademark into acquiring press credentials that enable him to attend all NFC East teams' OTA's and training camps. That is a journalistic accomplishment in itself. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for me personally to be turned down by the Eagles year after year for press credentials, while the Baltimore Ravens honor my "Eagles Eye" card with open arms. And if you remember, a few training camps ago, I had to sneak into Redskins TC to bring my pals at PE.com live reports from inside the ropes...that was during the Donovan McNabb transition to Washington when people still cared about #5.
Anyway, Kempski is worth a read and a listen... He'd fit right into the Bored's charter to "educate and entertain"...
Speaking of education--- Matt Bowen of National Football Post has graced us with yet another tidbit of contemplation. Imagine you're the personnel director of the Eagles and you've just broken the final OTA minicamp. What homework assignment do you give your rookie defensive backs to complete while they enjoy their 5-week summer vacation?
Matt Bowen (former NFL safety and frequent contibutor here, editor at National Football Post.com, and columnist for the Chicago Tribune):
"The majority of rookies don’t know how to study and break down film like a pro just yet. There is a process to understanding the NFL game, tendencies, etc. And I can tell you from my own experience as a rook in St. Louis, you need to know what to look for when you sit down and turn on the tape."
"Here is my quick guide for rookie DBs on what to study in the film room:"
Depth of the break: Outside of the 3-step game (slant, fade, quick out, hitch), every route breaks at a depth of 12-15 yards. This is key when looking at the double-move. If a WR chops his feet at 8-yards, don’t jump the route. You can see this on tape. And if a WR doesn’t drop his hips between 12-15 yards, turn your hips and go...the deep ball is coming.
Splits: WRs will give away their routes based on alignments. WR on top of the numbers? That’s the “Out” route. WR with reduced (or nasty) split to the formation? Play for an inside breaking concept or for the boot away. Use the numbers as landmarks and play for route concepts based on the pre-snap alignment.
Releases: This plays off of the pre-snap splits of the WRs. A wide alignment (outside of the numbers) with an outside vertical release? That’s the 9 (fade) or the comeback. A hard inside release? Probably to create room for the 7 (corner) route. Based off the initial alignment, the release will take you to the route.
Formations: 2x2 in the red zone: play for 4 Verticals. A 3x1 formation with No.1 to the open (or weak) side of formation in an “over split” alignment: get ready for the slant to the backside. Two receivers close together by their pre-snap alignment or short, “divide” motion to create a “stack” look: expect the Hi-Lo combination. These are just examples, but formations often tell you what to expect.
Players aligned out of position: This is big when you study tape. Always account for top targets when they are aligned out of position. For example, why would Detroit’s Calvin Johnson align as the No.2 WR inside of the numbers? Answer: to get the ball. Offenses will move their personnel to create matchups. Take notes in the film room when a No.1 WR is aligned out of position. It is done for a reason.
Hot reads: How does the offense handle pressure? Will they throw the slant vs. off-man coverage and target the fade vs. a press-look? Where does the QB want to go with the ball: inside of the numbers or to the outside? Who is the primary receiver when the QB reads blitz? There is no guarantee the blitz is going to get home, so study the route concepts and the QB vs. pressure.
Attacking the scheme: If you play in a Cover 2 (Tampa 2) defense, you better be prepared for the Flat-7, 4 Verts, etc. In a Cover 4 (quarters) scheme, I bet the “Pin” route is coming. If you show a lot of Cover 3, expect to see 3-level routes such as the OVS (9-7-Flat). Every offense in this league carries base concepts in their game plans designed to beat every coverage. You have to know how they will target the scheme.
"These are just a few keys to study, but they will put you in a position to make plays on the ball. And rookie DBs have to remember that you can’t just line up in this league and play. Everyone can run a 4.4. Get on the tape, start with your divisional opponents and begin to learn offensive tendencies in the NFL if you want to be productive player."
Thanks, Matt. And it goes to show how much preparation actually goes into making an NFL football team. If you think blogging the NFC East is a tough task, try preparing to become a defensive back by studying your divisional opponents with your eventual job on the line.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Eagles Eye.