February 10, 2023   7 MIN READ

‘Natural Leadership’

ITB Live From Radio Row: T.J. Houshmandzadeh was an early believer in Jalen Hurts


Adam Caplan, Geoff Mosher, and Andrew DiCecco are joined by special guests on “Inside The Birds Live From Radio Row” for Super Bowl LVII and Philadelphia Eagles coverage.

Jalen Hurts

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Jalen Hurts

DeVonta Smith

Houshmandzadeh: DeVonta has great hand-eye coordination. You think he’s so frail and thin, but he’s not afraid of contact. He does a really good job of tracking the ball and that gets overlooked. He does a good job of de-celrating, which not a lot of guys teach and know about. That’s the key to getting open: being able to stop.”

Barrett Brooks

Andy Reid

Barrett Brooks: “Andy has two weeks to go out there and put his gameplan and customize around his roster. That’s always tough for me because he’s great at maximizing his players’ talent. Now game management, I think the Eagles have the advantage in how the players are coached. The thing that I have a little bit of pause is they activated RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. That might mean Andy wants to run the ball against this defense.”

Jeff Stoutland

Brooks: “Coach Stoutland is a great coach, just because he understands how to talk to people. He maximizes what these guys do on the field. He teaches that the first thing you need to know is alignment and what he can do from that alignment. From there, you can formulate a gameplan on how you can counter what the guys are doing. His ability to go out there and take different coaching styles and improve players. All of his tackles set like Jason Peters, so once he found Peters and taught him the set he has, he implemented to all of those guys so they set the same exact way.”

Jason Avant

Chiefs Screens

Jason Avant: “They have a bunch of them. But Travis Kelce is a big threat for screens. He’s just as good as any receiver in the league after the catch when it comes to the screen. Kadarius Toney could be a screen guy.”

Dallas Goedert

Avant: “Dallas is probably the second or third best player with the ball in his hand. On a screen, other than A.J. Brown, I wouldn’t trust anyone more than him. That’s definitely an element that should come back into the game plan. The more he touches the ball is a good thing.”

Greg Cosell

Jalen Hurts

Greg Cosell: “One of the things that I thought Jalen Hurts improved on significantly as the season went on is that was the fact that he did not break down and perceive pressure as much as he had in the past, that he would stay in the pocket and deliver the football. I thought that was a real positive step in his continued growth. Since the injury, I thought he reverted back a few too many times into breaking down and going into ‘superhero mode’, where your feet get parallel. Can he make plays doing that at times because he’s a very good runner? Sure, but ultimately you don’t want your QB doing that, you want him to execute the offense as designed, particularly when there are throws that are there.”

Steve Spagnuolo

Cosell: “Prior to this year, I would have said there are three things you can expect from Steve Spagnuolo: man coverage, Cover 2, and pressure. This year, he has become more multiple in what he does…He does a lot of things and I think he’s open to it depending on how the game flows. Most good coaches have two or three next gameplans based on what happens.”

Brian Westbrook

Offensive Line

Brian Westbrook: “These guys are playing at a different level. I think the offense helps them an awful lot too, positioning instead of just down blocking and pushing guys out of the way. Now you kind of get your body in the right position, it’s just a different technique. But these guys are great at it. Lane Johnson is the best right tackle in the league, Jason Kelce is the best center in the league, Landon Dickerson will be one of the best guards in the league, and Jordan Mailata continues to do his thing. Jeff Stoutland gets these guys prepared every week, and every week they look like the best unit on the field. That’s why we continue to win games.”

Miles Sanders

Westbrook: “Miles for a long time was trying to figure out a way to get to the outside every single play. That’s not how you win in the NFL. What we’ve seen from Miles this year is that he understands rush lanes a lot better, blocking technique and schemes a lot better. But more importantly than any of that, he has done a great job of making the first man miss. In this offense, when you’re running against four and a half guys, if you can make that first man miss, now you have 10, 12, 15 yard runs. Miles has done a great job of converting those types of runs.”

Torrey Smith

Super Bowl Against New England

Torrey Smith: “We expected to score a lot because we knew our offense was better than their defense. But we didn’t think they would score that many points. We were just trusting our offense, we here hot, practicing very well, it was awesome.”

Eagles D-Line

Smith: “The biggest matchup is the Eagles defensive line versus the Chiefs o-line. The Eagles play their best when they’re able to get with four and drop everyone else into coverage. One of the major times the Chiefs struggled was in the Super Bowl when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushed four and were able to drop everyone else, Patrick Mahomes’ magic wasn’t the same. With this defensive line that is deep and rotate, if they’re able to get after them, which I think they can and will, that’s going to be the difference in this game.”

Zach Berman

Howie Roseman

Zach Berman: “What he has done these past two years in particular are outstanding. The development of that 2018 class is a huge story. There was a point a few years ago when you asked where is the under-25 talent on this roster and the Eagles didn’t have a lot of those players. Now they do, and Howie has taken advantage of having a QB on a rookie contract. They spent their money well.”

Upcoming Offseason

Berman: “There is a difference between building and maintaining. Howie has done an outstanding job multiple times here building, I don’t think he’s done as well maintaining. Part of that is when you’re trying to keep that window open, you have to make short term decisions that bite you long term. Where I think is going to be real interesting is not just the amount of free agents they have, but the decisions they have on players who have been really important here for a long time: Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. Both of their linebackers are free agents, both of their safeties are free agents, Javon Hargrave might be one of the highest paid free agents in this cycle, James Bradberry. It’s really hard when you have guys who succeeded for you and you have to look at them and say I’m not going to pay you. Especially when you win, people think they’re the reasons why, and rightfully so. That’s the challenge of maintaining a winning team.”

– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com

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