Thoughts From Week 1: The Browns browned their pants

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A 100% real, actually legitimate picture from Carson Wentz’ debut

The Eagles absolutely emasculated the Browns this past Sunday to the tune of a 29-10 win. Here are some of my thoughts from the game.

  • The Browns are bad.

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    Remember Derek Anderson’s one good season?

    I wanted to preface every point Im about to make with this very important fact. The Browns are a big bag of suck. Going into Sunday, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt that they could finally be a competitive team, what with the addition of Hue Jackson and all, but naw. You can’t change a zebra’s stripes and you can’t get the Browns to be competent. I’ll give them credit, some of their guys had half decent days, but for the most part it was the same ‘ol same ‘ol for the perpetually putrid Browns. Eagles fans need to temper their expectations going forward because we really don’t need a repeat of last year’s Packers preseason game. Just keep thinking about that 3-1 comeback Cleveland fans, basketball will be here soon enough.

  • Carson “My dick’s bigger than yours” Wentz

    I hope someone bought this guy a Coke after the game he had because damn he deserved it. After throwing just 24 passes over the entire preseason, Carson Wentz showed up to Lincoln Financial Field looking like he’s been doing this whole professional quarterback thing for a couple years now. Wentz showed off everything that made him the second overall pick, the arm, the IQ, the athleticism, it was all on full display. All of his best throws were fit perfectly into tight windows, throws you don’t see a certain big sleeved quarterback make regularly. The thing that had me most impressed with Wentz’ was his pre-play recognition, you could routinely see the guy reading the defense and making the correct adjustment at the line of scrimmage. Hell, the guy picked up a first down off a hard count! ROOKIES WHO MISS NEARLY THE ENTIRE PRESEASON DONT DO THAT IN THEIR FIRST START! He also had great chemistry with his receivers, which is something I did not expect considering he’s played with them so sparingly throughout training camp and the preseason, which brings me to my next point.

  • Was Jordan Matthews really hurt?

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    Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1

    Considering he was a stone-handed, ball-dropping, rage-inducing wonder last year, I was expecting Jordan Matthews to be a little rusty going into week one, but this Eagles team seems to love proving me wrong so far. Matthews was by far Wentz’ favorite target on the afternoon finishing with seven catches on fourteen targets for 114 yard and a score. If you were to ask someone who didn’t know any better who Matthews lived with for a week in Oklahoma over the Summer, they might assume it was Wentz. Outside of a couple dropped balls, Matthews looks like the receiver who had 317 yards and four touchdowns over the course of the last three games of last season. This is a QB-WR duo im V excited to see grow moving forward.

  • Nelson Agholor things that didn’t hurt the Eagles!

    I’ll admit it, before Sunday I was just about ready to give up hope for Nelson Agholor. Throughout his rookie year and this preseason, it just looked like it was the same one step forward three steps back shit that he’s been pulling his whole career. For every big catch, Agholor would follow it up with a fumble or a tipped pass interception or a rape allegation. I really thought he was going to go the way of Eric Rowe. But thankfully Agholor showed he still has a pulse against the Browns going for four catches on five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a better pass than catch, but Agholor still had to beat tight coverage from Joe Haden to make the catch. It’s way too soon to say he’s finally come around and earned the first round hype, but Im a little more optimistic than I was.

  • The law firm of Matthews-Barner-Sproles is open for business.

    Although no Eagles running back really had a breakout game — Ryan Matthews was solid but not spectacular — the Eagles rushing attack looked great as a whole against the Browns. Doug Pederson did a good job of rotating his running backs to get the most out of them. Ryan Matthews was the closest thing the team had to a below back, he got the bulk of the carries with a little sprinkling of Kenjon Barner every so often to keep the defense on there toes. It may of only been on limited carries, but I thought Barner may have been the most impressive back Sunday averaging 10.5 a carry on four carries for 42 yards. Darren Sproles took over his usual role of receiving back, although he left a little bit to be desired, Im just chalking it up to Sproles getting use to his new quarterback though. The three running backs finished the day with a combined 131 yards and a touchdown. Considering what he did last season with a running back by committee in Kansas City, im excited and curious to see how Doug Pederson uses his backs going forward.

  • Is the Eagles’ offensive line better?

    Considering the Browns started two rookie edge rushers, I felt the offensive line could of had a better day. While they weren’t terrible, they sure as hell should of been a lot better. Jason Peters looks like he’s picking things up right where he left off last season, Lane Johnson caught too many flags, Brandon Brooks was good, but not great, and Jason Kelce got eaten up by Danny Shelton. Believe it or not Allen Barbre actually finished as the team’s highest graded lineman according to PFF, go figure right. Meanwhile, Jason Kelce is now rated as the worst center in football, maybe last year’s struggles weren’t just a fluke. The Browns finished with two sack and three tackles for loss to go along with a lot of unnecessary pressure on Carson Wentz. This Browns pass rush should finish among the league’s worst, which makes me nervous going forward.

  • The defensive line is what we thought it’d be.

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    Get ready to see this smile a whole lot this year.

    I can say with absolute confidence that the defensive line is the best unit on the Eagles. It’s amazing how big a difference a simple scheme change makes. Had it not been for 40 garbage time yards on the Browns last possession, starting running back Isiah Crowell would of been held to just 22 yards rushing. The Eagles finished the game with three sacks and five tackles for loss, all coming from the defensive line. Conner Barwin picked up a sack off a bull rush on Joe Thomas while three blockers had their hands full with Fletcher Cox. I’ve said all I needed to say.

  • Jordan Hicks is back and doing the same things that made him great.

    There might not of been an Eagles I was more nervous about going into this season than Jordan Hicks. He’s a notoriously injury prone player and was held out of training camp for what seemed to be an necessarily long time, I began wondering if he was still injured. Well it seems like the Eagles’ cautious ways may have been for the best because the guy looks a whole lot like he did during his not defensive rookie of the year season. Jordan Hicks finished with just four tackles, but his presence was felt beyond that, specifically in the passing game. Hicks was graded as the fifth best overall linebacker in football and earned the highest coverage grade of any backer. Hicks was also the highest graded defensive player on the Eagles and second overall to only Carson Wentz. If this guy can play a full season, he could really make some noise.

  • Donnie Jones gets my vote for team MVP.

    Can we talk about how good of a day Donnie Jones had!? I don’t get excited about punters normally, but DZAAAAAMN Donnie Jones had a day. Donnie Jones punted the ball six times, the Browns didn’t return a single one. Jones had three touch backs and pinned the Browns inside their own 20 three times. He had a long of 72 (!!!!!!) yards and averaged 49.2 yards a punt. Donnie Jones was legitimately killing drives for the Browns before their offense even got out on the field. They say there’s no defense like a good offense, well I say there’s no defense like a zoned in Donnie Jones.

Eagles Week 1 Preview: Believeland comes to Philly

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THE FUTURE IS NOW! 

Hot damn football’s back!

The Eagles begin their season tomorrow against the Cleveland Browns and will start their first rookie quarterback in franchise history. What a time to be alive!

The Browns are the poop stain of the NFL — that’s why they’re called the Browns — but im gonna be real with you, it’s not that crazy to think the Eagles lose to them week one.

Look, I can call a spade a spade and the Eagles are not a good football team. Yet.

This is a fairly young and inexperienced team, so that means it’s going to take some time for the wheels to start spinning and the to get moving.

Any chance of this team competing went along with Sam Bradford in that deal with the Vikings.

I mean this team does have some pieces already — the defense has a chance to really impress this year — but I just don’t think there’s enough there for this team to be competitive right away, and I think a lot of that stems from the quarterback position.

Carson Wentz only played about a quarter and some change over the course of the entire preseason and he’s been very limited in practice over the past few weeks while he recovered from a cracked rib, so he’s pretty untested as far as rookie QBs go. Wentz could be a good one, but he’s getting thrown straight into the fire and it’s going to take some time for him to acclimate to his new role that came a year earlier than expected.

Wentz is also going to need some time to build chemistry with his wide receivers after primarily working with the threes in training camp. Jordan Matthews is also just coming back from injury after missing the entire preseason and may have his share of rust to shake off, which I can’t imagine helping Wentz much.

The Browns lost their fair share of players this offseason both through free agency and players just not wanting to be on the Browns anymore. But I see the addition of Hue Jackson as head coach as a huge step in the right direction towards getting this team somewhat respectable. He did wonders for Andy Dalton in his one season as Bengals’ OC, so Im not gonna sleep on what he can do with RGIII.

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Robert Giffin III has come a long way from throwing balls by himself after practice.

I think the Browns Oline got hurt the worst this offseason, which gives the Eagles defense a great chance to eat on Sunday as they officially unveil their new defense. This is one of the biggest advantages the Eagles have going into Sunday.

Im not expecting a very high scoring game, what with the Eagles lacking much offense and the Brown’s not having much to protect what little they have on offense. This is going to be a close one, but Im favoring the Eagles just a little bit more in this one.

10 Things That Have Me Scared About the Eagles

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Everyone knows this feeling.

With the start of training camp just a little ways away, the Eagles have done a good job of keeping all their ducks in a row leading up to the season.

Fletcher Cox is now being paid like a mid level NBA starter, which takes care of the team’s most disgruntle Eagle. The gapping hole that was the team’s head player personnel position has now been filled. And all signs of QB controversy seem to have faded as the blood from everyone’s Carson Wentz boner returned to their head.

Plus it turns out Nelson Agholor is just really friendly with his strippers!

Yep, things are looking pretty good for the birds of Broad Street. Everything’s coming up Milhouse.

AND YET……

And yet I still have these little inklings of “This could be a loooooooong season.”

I look at this team on paper and see a solid group with a few minor holes. My head tells me this roster is good enough to win a few NFL games, but my gut has me worried about those few minor holes; it doesn’t take much for a little divot in a team to become a huge chasm. The strengths of this team are pretty strong, but I just have that feeling that their weaknesses could be their undoing.

It’s not just the roster that has me concerned though, there are some things that are totally out of the team’s control that have me paranoid.

Here are the ten things that have me scared about the Eagles going into the season:

1. The Eagles have to play a BRUTAL schedule

I’ll be honest, this is the thing that has me most pessimistic about the Eagles going into the season.

This team could be decent, but I just don’t see how they’d walk away from this season with a winning record with the schedule they have to play.

I think they have a chance to start out nice and possibly have a 3-0 record going into the bye, depending on a Leveon Bell suspension and what type of mood the Steelers are in. But after that YEEEEEESH…

They come out of the bye in Detroit and as much as I wanna call that a gimme, Im not ready to sleep on the Lions after last Thanksgiving. After that they travel to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington DC team, and they’ve gotten GOOD at home. Jay Gruden knows what to do with a home field advantage.

The Birds then come back home to face the Vikings, a team that was a chip shot of a field goal away from beating the Seahawks in the playoffs last season. Im calling a loss here.

Then they have a little bit of a breather in the middle of the season playing in Dallas, in New York, and then at home against Atlanta, but week 11 is when they enter the Thunderdome.

First they have to go to Seattle, that’s a loss and you can write it down now in permanent marker. Then the Eagles see Green Bay in Philly, a late season game against the Packers is never easy. And after that they have to go into Cincy to face the Bengals, who were arguably the best team in the AFC before Andy Daulton went down with a thumb injury last season.

Then they get Washington at home which should give them a minute to lick their wounds. But after that they have to go into Baltimore to face a Raven’s team that will be much healthier than they were last season. I think this will be the last nail in the Eagles’ coffin.

I expect the Eagle’s playoff hopes to be officially dead by the end of week 15.

2. The wide receivers are basically the same

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The success of the Eagles’ receivers may hinge on this guy.

Let’s be real, the Eagles upgraded their wide receiver position with wishful thinking.

They didn’t do dick.

For a team that was plagued with inconsistency and drops at they wide receiver position last season I would of though they would go out and get a veteran presence to compliment the young core thats already in place. Instead they signed Rueben Randle, one of the most inconsistent, brick handed receivers in the NFL, and called it a day.

Seriously, the only thing Rueben Randle does consistently is play inconsistent.

Sure, he has a little bit of upside as a former early round pick and had close to 1,000 yards two years ago, but he’s really just not that good. Randle was ranked 77th among all wide receivers according to PFF last season.

I do like the Chris Givens signing though, it gives Sam Bradford a little bit of a familiar face and fills a need at deep threat for the Eagles, but I don’t think Givens makes the receiver position that much better as a whole.

The Eagles didn’t really upgrade or downgrade their wide receiver position this offseason, it was more or less just a step to the side.

3. Rookie Head Coach

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Doug Pederson could be good, but it’s not gonna be right away.

I think everyone in Philadelphia had about the same reaction when news broke the Eagles had rumored interest in Doug Pederson as a possible Head coach, “UGH Really, this guy?!”

Pederson comes from a Kansas City Chiefs team who is notorious for having an offense so boring it made vanilla look like a Michael Bay movie.

Dougie is an Andy Reid disciple and former Eagles’ quarterbacks coach who saw Donovan McNabb through some of his worst seasons as an Eagle.

The one thing I will commend Pederson on, and this is the thing that has me most excited, is his work in the run game. When Jamal Charles went dow to injury last season, Pederson got Probowl production out of a tandem of back up running backs. Seeing as how the Eagles basically have a bunch of back ups at running back, Im intrigued.

The thing that has me most curious though is how much of the credit in Kansas City should go to Pederson and how much should go to Andy Reid, seeing as how Reid is one of the better offensive minds in football. I guess that’s just something we’re gonna learn this season.

If all things go as planned, Doug Pederson could be the second coming of Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Im just not expecting it to be next season. I think Pederson will definitely look the part of a rookie head coach this season, but in time he could be a good one.

4. The linebackers are Meh

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Mychal Kendricks may be pretty enough for Rihanna, but Im starting to get a little tired of him.

Linebacker might be my least favorite position of the Eagles.

Mychal Kendricks is overrated. He can make awesome plays, but struggles with consistency and can get burnt in coverage better than any other linebacker in football. Seriously, worst linebacker in coverage in the NFL, just check PFF.

Jordan Hicks makes me optimistic, but he’s already starting to look like Mr. Glass from Unbreakable. Dude could be awesome, but I am seriously concerned about his durability, especially considering he didn’t finish either of his last two seasons at Texas due to injuries.

He also isn’t the best in run defender from what he showed in his shortened rookie season, which makes me nervous seeing as how that was the Achilles Heel last time the Eagles ran a wide nine.

I definitely think getting rid of Kiko Alonso was the right move, he didn’t fit in a 4-3 and he’s better off somewhere else, but Im tepid on Nigel Bradham. Bradham is a nice replacement and all, he’s played well in Jim Schwartz defense a few seasons ago, but he’s better served as a backup on most other teams. Bradham graded out as one of the worst linebackers in football last season playing under Rex Ryan. He’s still young so he could rebound, but Im iffy on the guy.

Going into this offseason I was hoping the team would of put more of a focus on pass coverage skills in their linebackers, especially seeing as how the Panthers earned a trip to the Super Bowl thanks in large part to their linebackers’ ability to drop back in coverage, but naw. My dreams of the Eagles going out and getting themselves a moneybacker — that’s the new name for those fancy linebacker-safety hybrids that are all the rage now — sadly never came true.

The team might be able to survive with these linebackers for the season, but I feel like upgrades are gonna be necessary going into the future.

5. Eric Rowe hasn’t run away with the starting corner job

After Byron Maxwell was shipped off to Miami, Rowe became the de facto number one corner, or at least so it seemed.

After Nolan Carroll was placed on season ending IR last year, Rowe looked impressive taking over his spot on the outside. He graded out as one of the better cornerbacks in football over the last five games of last season, which pretty much made him a lock to start this year.

I was one of those people who always saw Eric Rowe’s future at safety, and Im still not completely ruling it out, but after his starting stint last season Im a believer. Rowe has the size and length to operate on the outside and showed some ability allowing 51.7 percent of passes thrown against him to be completed, giving up 30 receptions against 58 targets for only three total touchdowns, which is quality production from a rookie.

After all, you can’t earn a nickname like Death Rowe while playing like a scrub.

But so far this season, the early reviews from mini camp have been mixed. While he hasn’t been bad, he also hasn’t stood out as the team’s best corner like he should. The transition to a new defensive scheme can be tricky for a young corner so there’s still time for him to acclimate, but Im already beginning to temper my expectations for him going into the season.

Right now Rowe is slotted behind Leodis McKelvin on the depth chart and Im not sure how soon that’ll change. Apparently the Eagles staff have been paying less attention to Rowe compared to some of the other corners, namely Jalen Mills. Eliot Shorr Parks even went as far as suggesting Rowe might not be a lock to even make the team.

I do think Eric Rowe is the best corner on this team, but it’s looking like it might take a little bit longer before it’s fully realized.

6. There’s a lot riding on Jason Peters

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Jason Peters ain’t the young man he use to be.

As far as Im concerned, Jason Peters is the lynchpin that holds the offensive line together. They go as he goes until he is released or retires, whatever comes first.

It seems as though every season the Eagles’ offensive line is seen as suspect, Peters is usually the culprit. Most times it had been due to injury, but last season it was due solely to poor play. Peters is 34 and it’s looking like the wheels are starting to fall off.

I can’t blame the shortcomings of the entire offensive line last season on Peters, after all the Eagles got what they deserved for starting Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner at guard.

Still, the left side of the line was bad from tackle to center last season and seeing as how the team is expecting to roll out the same group this season, Im concerned. The way I see it, Jason Peters very well could make or break the line this season. He wasn’t entirely terrible last year, but he was very far from his former six-time All Pro self. Peters doesn’t need to be an All Pro this season, he just needs to be serviceable enough.

Honestly, if I were the Eagles I’d probably move Lane Johnson to left tackle now and just get it over with, but I understand you have to pay respect to your future Hall of Famers.

I think the team could survive if Barbre plays poorly, but if Peters follows suit I can’t imagine things going well.

7. Ryan Mathews is as fragile as a China Doll

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I don’t have much faith in Wendell Smallwood as a rookie.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Ryan Mathews, but only when he’s on the field. And seeing as how that doesn’t happen often, he tests my love.

If I could expect 16 games out of Ryan Mathews I’d be ecstatic, the Eagles would have some semblance of a running game, and this list would be titled “9 Things That Have Me Scared About the Eagles.” But seeing as how he’s about as durable as a glass twig, I got beef.

I do think Ryan Mathews is a great running back and is capable of rushing for 1,000 yards, but he needs a full season to do so and you just don’t get that from Ryan Matthews.

Mathews was probably the best running back on the Eagles’ roster last season, and still is, but due to injuries he was never able to actually capture the starting job from DeMarco Murray until the end of the season and by that point it was more starter by committee than actually having someone be the bell cow back.

Last year, with DeMarco Murray starting, Mathew’s injuries didn’t have too major of an impact, although they were felt. This season, if (when) Matthews goes down with an injury, its gonna hurt.

Darren Sproles is now a 33 year old running back who has regressed in each of his last three seasons. I have no problems with Sproles starting in the slot, but I wouldn’t feel confident about him as the top dog in the Eagles’ backfield.

Wendell Smallwood, the Eagles’ new rookie running back, is a third down back in my eyes until proven otherwise. The kid has decent size, is pretty shifty, and has great hands, but lacks a second gear and is not a good pass blocker. Duce Staley may have a hard on for Smallwood, but the feeling is not mutual.

Ryan Mathews is 28, turning 29 in October. He has only played a full season once in his six seasons as a Pro. I can’t imagine he plays the second full season of his career this year, just like I can’t imagine the Eagles having a solid ground game this year.

8. Cody Parkey’s alive?!

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Once upon a time Cody Parkey was a Probowl kicker, here’s hoping he could get back to that form.

Cody Parkey was the best pick up of the entire Chip Kelly era. He was picked up for pigeon feed and instantly became one of the most important members of the Eagles.

Had Parkey been healthy last season, the Eagles would of made the playoffs and Chip Kelly more than likely would still be head coach.

Parkey had ice in his veins throughout his entire rookie season, but come the preseason of year two he was slumping HARD. He had struggles with consistency and would routinely miss chip shots.

There was a lot of mystery behind Parkey’s sudden slump until the team put him on IR and gave him the year off. I honestly felt a little relieved when the news broke about Parkey’s injury because it meant his poor play wasn’t entirely on him, but it didn’t make me feel anything close to optimistic.

Caleb Sturgis did an alright job in relief of Parkey. He wasn’t great, but he did well enough to still be sticking around.

Now Parkey is back and is forced to fend off Sturgis in hopes of earning his job back. So far the results have been not terrible as both have done ok, but neither has really jumped out in front of the other.

My main concern here is that Parkey was just a one year wonder. Kickers tend to be a lot like relief pitchers in baseball, they play an incredibly vital role, but they’re a dime a dozens and their greatness can often be fleeting. Caleb Sturgis looked like he had the makings of a future Probowl kicker his rookie year, but he was cut by the Dolphins two years later and now might be fighting for his NFL life. I would hate to see Parkey go down the same path after a rookie season that was even more impressive than Sturgis’.

At his best, Parkey is better than anything Caleb Sturgis has ever shown; Caleb finished the season strong but was still inconsistent AF. Im hopeful the better kicker can win the job and Parkey can rekindle his old spark, otherwise Sturgis is back taking field goals and that just doesn’t make me feel as confident.

I doubt the Eagles will be among the league leaders in offense next season so field goals could be pretty important. Parkey will be vital to the team’s success, but I can’t shake the feeling that the dude is shook. Im hopeful it’s all just rust and Parkey can win the job in training camp, but if not I can’t expect good things.

9. Sammy Sleeves or Sammy leaves?

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Sam Bradford’s sleeves are so long because he doesn’t want to blind anyone with his sick ass guns.

I’ll admit, I am a Sam Bradford believer. I feel like the guy gets a little bit of an unnecessarily bad rep. Im not gonna say the guy should be considered a top ten QB — because he shouldn’t– but I just feel there is a huge anti Sam Bradford bias in the NFL.

The guy hasn’t had the easiest road to where he is now, albeit a lot of that is on him, but I still think he’s shown enough to be seen more favorably than most people see him.

With that said, Sammy pulled some little bitch shit this offseason. The team gave him a two-year “prove it” deal and he got all pissy as soon as he realized he would actually have to prove it. I can understand being a little annoyed when the team your still somewhat new to goes out and gets a new QB of the future, but crying and locking yourself in your room is not the way a suppose to be franchise quarterback acts.

Now that Sam has been talked off the ledge and made goodie goodie with Carson Wentz Im cautiously optimistic about him going into this season. He ended last season strong, he’s actually built a repertoire with some of his receivers, and the interior O line is much improved from last season.

I think Sammy could play pretty well in Doug Pederson’s offense — It’s much better suited to his skill set than Chip Kelly’s ever was — but I just question how well a team can rally behind a guy who asked to get going as soon as the going got tough.

10. Who is this team?

For the past three seasons the Eagles have been known as the fast pace, revolutionary offense that changed the face of the NFL. Outside of last season, they regularly ranked among the league leaders in almost every offensive stat. When a team played the Eagles they knew they were going to be playing against speed.

That isn’t the case anymore.

With Doug Pederson taking over you can expect something a little slower and more methodical, but its gonna be hard for me to expect offense to still be the trademark of this team. As of right now, this Eagles team has no identity.

At the start of the offseason they were seen as one of the most dysfunctional teams in the NFL thanks in large part to the whole Sam Bradford saga. While that situation has since resolved itself, the team is left as a relative unknown.

The Eagles have some good things on offense and some good things on defense, but not enough to be seen as either an offensive or defensive threat in my eyes. Neither is a complete group yet.

This is still a relatively young team that will need time to find out who they are and what they really have in their players. This team very well could turn into a defense force similar to what Jim Schwartz had in Buffalo or they could turn into a offensive machine akin to the Andy Reid days of yore. One thing is for sure though and that is neither will fully take shape this season.

I really just have no idea what to expect out of this team. The defense could be good, but I can’t expect it to be great and hell if I know what to expect out of this offense because I feel like they could be anywhere from piss poor to half decent.

One of the oldest and most common fears is that of the unknown and I gotta say, these unknown Eagles have me pretty scared.

Eagles 7-Round Mock Draft

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Can you smell that? That’s the smell of magic in the air. Can you feel that? That’s a sense of child-like wonderment. It is the eve of the NFL draft and GM’s will be struggling to get a wink of sleep tonight.

The NFL draft is the place where dynasties are made, it is where the GMs establishes themselves as geniuses, it is where dreams are either realized or totally crushed, and it is where fans sit for hours on end just to boo their team for drafting a player they didn’t want/expect.

With tomorrow being the big day, so I though this would be as good a time as ever time to release my first, last, and ONLY 7-round Eagles mock draft; well, 5-round mock draft. Little disclaimer though, this mock draft is a mix of what I expect the Eagles to do and what I would do in the Eagles position.

1st Round (2nd Overall): QB Carson Wentz

Duh. This one is really a no brainer. I doubt the Eagles would of traded up already had they not been certain the Rams were taking Jared Goff first overall. Whether you agree with the trade or not, Im kind of tepid on it myself, Carson Wentz is most likely the pick. Wentz has arguably the most upside of any QB in this draft. If you could build a QB, he’d look a lot like Carson Wentz. Prototypical size, great athleticism and running ability, intelligence, accuracy, and a cannon for an arm; the guy has a chance to be legit. The biggest downside is a lack of competition, coming from FCS North Dakota State he hasn’t really been tested. And Im not much for college stats when looking at a draft prospect, but the fact he only threw for more than 200 yards three times last season is concerning to me. Wentz does come from a run heavy offense so that could explain the low passing numbers, but I still would of liked to see the guy dominate more. All in all, to me Wentz looks like an athletic Joe Flacco, both have similar builds and crazy accuracy on their deep passes. I also see Wentz as the best read option QB in this draft. This would be the fourth time the Eagles took a QB in the first round in franchise history.

3rd Round (79th Overall): LB Jaylon Smith

Ok, this one might be a stretch. In Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s most recent Scouting Notebook he said, based on what he’s hearing from scouts, he believes Jaylon Smith could fall all the way to the second half of the third round; due largely to the fact he will miss all of 2016. If there is one player the Eagles would be smart to make sure they get, it’s Jaylon Smith. His knee injury could be a blessing in disguise for a team like the Eagles, who have a pretty big need at outside linebacker. Had Smith never gotten hurt, he’d be a top three pick. He would of been in the conversation for best player in the draft, along the likes of Laremy Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey. Jaylon Smith is a do it all linebacker, with stupid athleticism and crazy range. There isn’t really one aspect of playing linebacker that he’s not great at. Everything that has been said about Myles Jack applies to Jaylon Smith, and then some. Smith is also a low key talented pass rusher, an aspect of his game that was not well taken advantage of at Notre Dame. There’s no telling really what might happen with Smith’s knee, reports on the injury have ranged from career ending to non-serious, so I think it’s a bit of a crap shoot. Still though, if all things go well in his rehab, Smith could be a perennial All-Pro player. The Eagles would be smart to not to let him get by.

5th Round (153 Overall): RB Devontae Booker

Again, this might be a bit of a stretch, but stay with me on this one. Last year, Jay Ajayi was one of the top RB prospects in the draft. He was projected as a second round pick, but due to a knee injury he slid all the way to the fifth round. I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happened to Booker. One of the top RBs in this draft, Devontae Booker suffered a torn meniscus that ended his 2015 season early. The injury is still healing, which has forced him to miss the majority of the draft process. Booker hasn’t been able to test his speed or his agility, seeing as how his speed is a huge question mark, I think that could really hurt his draft stock. There’s also the matter of his age, he’ll be 24 come the start of the season, which is another negative. Still, despite all the red flags, Devontae Booker may be one of the most complete RBs in this draft. A legit three down back, Booker is a great inside runner. He hits the hole hard and is shifty enough to break tackles at the second level. Booker has nimble feet and is a great pure runner. He does not have the best speed and isn’t much of a home run hitter, but he’s a great grind it out back. Booker also has very soft hands and can be an asset in the passing game. His pass blocking could use some work, but he’d be a steal if he were to fall this far.

5th Round (164 Overall): OG Landon Turner

A four year starter out of North Carolina, Landon Turner is a monster of a man. A former first team All American, Turner uses his size and strength to his advantage and over powers his opponents. He runs people over in the run game and uses powerful hands and strong legs to beat people in the passing game. Turner has a clear lack of speed and flexibility, which could hurt him at the next level. Turner’s playing style is reminiscent to me of Brandon Brookes, both are huge, powerful guards who use their size to their advantage; Im not saying that Turner is going to be Brookes, Im just saying they kinda remind me of each other. In that regard, I feel as though Turner could be an interesting name for the Eagles.

6th Round (188 Overall): WR DeMarcus Robinson

The Eagles have made it clear that they are going to dress WR at some point in the draft, but in specific, they’re looking for a deep threat. The team has brought in the likes of Kolby Listenbee and Mike Thomas, but I think of all the receivers they’ve brought in, DeMarcus Robinson has the highest upside. A legit potential number one receiver, Robinson has electric athleticism, great size, and blazing speed that shows up better on tape than it does on the stop watch. Robinson can play on the outside or in the slot and is the type of receiver that can make a corner back nervous. He can shake a CB at the line of scrimmage and then just blow straight by them. He is also very lethal running after the catch. He is an all around great home run threat with awesome speed and tracking ability. The biggest downside to Robinson is his off the field issues. He has been suspended four time and benched twice by Florida for off the field concerns. Scouts have labeled Robinson as selfish and immature, which is also concerning. Thankfully with Chip Kelly gone, the Eagles can finally get a couple dirty players, and seeing as how Robinson has early round upside, I think he’d worth the risk.

7th Round (233 Overall): CB Daryl Worley

Worley is a similar case as Robinson, good player, horrible off the field issues. Worley has the size, speed, and athleticism you look for in a CB. Worley led the Big 12 in interceptions and passes defended last year and shows the ability to be able to play the outside in the pros. Worley shows great cover ability, aggressive hands, good leaping ability, and can spot the ball well, but he is not the most willing tackler in run support. Worley was suspended for the last game of his career due to academics and was suspended for two games back in 2014 following the assault of a women in a night club. Women beating ain’t cool and has recently become a kiss of death for draft prospects looking to go in the early rounds. The Eagles brought Worley in for a private visit, which means there is definite interest there. If the Eagles feel comfortable with the off the field stuff, he could be a decent late round pick.

7th Round (251 Overall): FB Dan Vitale

Vitale was the fullback the Eagles kept the closest eye on not named Gronkowski. Vitale is just a big, versatile dude. He was asked to play a mix of fullback, H back, and tight end. He shows some receiving ability and could be a decent safety valve, he just needs to work on securing his catches. Vitale is a good blocker, but not the best lead blocker. He can keep people from getting to you, but he can’t move people away from you. Was used more as a receiver than as a lead blocker or a runner, so that is something he’s going to need to work on. Vitale is a solid get with the Eagle’s last pick of the draft, but if they felt so incline, I feel like the Eagles could also just sign him as an undrafted free agent.

 

The Developmental Quarterback Myth: Good QBs don’t come late

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Kirk Cousins is one of the lone examples of a late round, project QB panning out.

One of my favorite draft season past times is seeing the players fans convince themselves will be all time greats. While Im sure that late round, DII player you love so much looks nice in his highlight tape, that’s probably the only place he’ll ever look nice.

The position with the most forced infatuation is easily QB, people see guys who’s won a lot in college, guys with a cannon arm, or guys with a little bit of athleticism and assume they’ll be the next big thing. “You know if this guy goes to the right system and they let him develop for a couple of years, he could turn out to be something!” Unfortunately though, these QBs, like a photographer on a bad day, don’t have very much to develop.

Last year it was Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley. The year before that it was Logan Thomas, Tom Savage, and Zach Mettenberger. The year before that it was Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, and Ryan Nassib. All late round guys who, with a little bit of time and a little bit coaching, had a chance to be decent starters.

All of these guys are called project QBs for a reason, you have to make something out of them. The only problem with these projects is that they usually fail. Rarely do you ever see a guy taken later than the third develop into anything more than a back up.

In the past ten years, only three starting QBs were taken later than the second, those players were Russell Wilson (3rd round), Kirk Cousins (4th round), and Tyrod Taylor (6th round).

Kirk Cousin and Tyrod Taylor the only example of a project QB recently panning out to be a legitimate starter level QB (NOTE: I don’t include Russell Wilson among these two because he never needed developing). In the past 15 seasons, the only project QBs taken later than the third that have amounted to anything, excluding Cousins and Taylor, are David Garrard, Matt Schaub, and Kyle Orton. That’s five starters developed over the past 15 seasons, not the best ratio. All five of these players are starter caliber, but you have a pretty good idea on limitations of each and you wouldn’t really want to ride into a playoff game with them at the helm.

Speaking of limitations and playoff games, it’s also interesting to note that 11 of the past 15 Super Bowls have included at least one first round quarter back. If you expand that list to go all the back to 1990, then 23 of the past 27 have included at least one first round QB. While it isn’t impossible to find Super Bowl caliber QBs late, your Russell Wilsons, Tom Bradys, Joe Montanas, and Jim Kellys are all few and far between.

I think the thing that kills these QBs most often is a lack of care, that’s not to say the coaches don’t care for their players, but rather the organization gives up on the player the moment something better comes along. Take the QBs of the 2014 draft class for example. Zach Mettenburger had starter upside until Tennessee wound up with the second overall pick and Marcus Mariota, now he’ll be in charge of keeping the bench warm for the foreseeable future. Logan Thomas was a big lump of clay for Bruce Ariens to mold, then Carson Palmer found his way to Arizona and Arizona found Logan Thomas’ way to Miami. Tom Savage may have been done dirtiest of all. Drafted as one of the bigger sleepers in his draft, Savage has been pushed down the Texans depth chart by free agent acquisitions. Tom Savage is now the third string QB looking up at the likes of Brian Hoyer and Brock Oswiler.

Drafting a guy late and giving him time to develop is a nice philosophy, but that time only opens the door for a better QB prospect to come along and wow his team. When you take a developmental QB early, you force your team into developing the player because otherwise would be a waste of an early draft pick

More often than not, you get what you pay for in terms of drafting a QB; that’s why there’s a first round QB playing in the Super Bowl so often. if you invest a fourth or fifth round pick in a QB, you’re probably just drafting a back up.

NCAA Football: FCS Championship-Jacksonville State vs North Dakota State

Carson Wentz, possibly the Eagles’ future starting Quarterback?

This article is not meant to denounce the drafting of QBs late, you can find a bad QB in the first just as easily as you find a bad QB late; finding a good QB is hard period. Rather, this article is meant to temper expectations on late round guys, not everyone is going to be the next Tom Brady no matter how much you want him to be. This also ties in with the Eagles recent announcement that they plan on taking a QB somewhere in the draft.

Rumors swirled about the possibility of the Eagles trading up for a top QB, which was met with much chagrin from the Eagles’ fanbase. Rather than go after a top name, many fans have offered the alternative of Dak Prescott or Cradle Jones or any other late QB. While I will admit to being a big Cardale fan, I understand he and a lot of non-first round QBs in this draft come with a pretty high bust possibility. When you consider the fact Donovan McNabb is the only QB this team has taken in the first round since 1980, the team’s historic QB woes make a little bit of sense. Although it may cost a lot, trading up to make sure they lock up one of the top QBs may not be the worst idea because without a second round pick, there isn’t much guarantee the guy they take will be any better than Sam Bradford or their QB of the future.

 

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Have You Ever Asked Your Bitch For Other Bitches?: Eagles free agency guide

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Adam Schefter got Eagles fan’s excitement boners just a little bit harder the other day on 97.5 The Fanatic, saying that he expects the Eagles to be aggressive in free agency.

Schefter’s hunch isn’t based on any factual evidence, but rather he’s just going off of how Howie Roseman usually runs things. When Howie sees a player he likes, Howie usually gets that player; this is the one aspect of being a GM that he has always aced. The one down side to this is that Howie always sets his sights too high, He’ll never eat burger, he always has to have filet mignon. It’s this refined taste that led to the Dream Team and Chip Kelly eras.

In Howie’s last two seasons as GM, when he worked alongside Chip Kelly, the Eagles were active, but relatively quiet on the free agent market. Instead of going after bigger name players, the Eagles signed guys like Connor Barwin and Malcolm Jenkins to smart, relatively modest contracts. Both paid major dividends and have been far more productive than some of the other bigger name free agents from each go their classes *cough* *cough*  Jarius Byrd *cough* *cough*.

So far this offseason, Howie has made some smart moves. He has resigned young players to long term, team friendly deals just as they are about to reach their prime. Im optimistic about how Roseman will go about free agency, but the ghost of offseasons past will be haunting me pretty bad.

As of right now, the Eagles have something around 19 Mil in cap space, so there shouldn’t be too much room for Howie to go out and get the big name guy that has burned the team so often in the past, which does put me a little more at ease. With that said though, the team could stand to dump some unnecessary contracts, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Matthews, and Jason Peters (maybe), if they’re looking to add a little bit of wiggle room to the cap.

With all that said, here are some names the Eag:

Chase Daniels, QB KC Chiefs: The Eagles already have their QB of the (short term) future in Sam Bradford, but the guy will be learning his sixth new offense in just as many seasons. For those of you counting at home, that’s one for every season he’s been in the league. To help ease this transition into this new offense, the team could bring on Chase Daniels to help mentor the QBs on the roster. I’ve already mentioned how the team could stand to cut ties with Mark Sanchez, or better yet just dump him off in the middle of the woods somewhere. I think Daniels may be the more affordable and beneficial option at back up QB.

Cory Harkey, FB St. Louis Rams: Philly Mag recently did a piece on the importance of full backs in Doug Pederson’s system. KC used full back Anthony Sherman as a bull dozer to help clean up running lanes and pick up any defenders who may of slipped through the cracks in the offensive line. With how often DeMarco Murray got touched in the backfield, Im sure he’d appreciate a little bit of lead blocking. Cory Harkey has great size for his position at 6’4 259 lbs and also served as a back up tight end for the Rams. At only 25 years old, Harkey posted the fourth highest run blocking grade according to PFF, thats 13 spots higher than KC’s Anthony Sherman. Considering his age, size, and the potential to get the most out of DeMarco Murray, Harkey may be a better option than anyone in the draft. (Although I wouldn’t complain if the Eagles drafted Glenn Gronkowski)

Anquan Boldin, WR SF 49ers: Middle tier wide receivers are about to make BANK this offseason. With the top free agent at the position being Marvin Jones, a number two receiver with some solid upside and an ugly injury history, this is a pool I’d dip my toes in, but not one I’d try to jump into head first. Despite it being his age 35 season, Anquan Boldin still finished 2015 with 69 (ha) receptions, 789 yards receiving and four touch downs, that’s better production than almost every receiver on the Eagles’ roster. Oh and he only had two drops on 111 targets, so there’s that too. Boldin turns 36 in October so there’s no guarantee he can continue to produce at this level, but I am a firm believer in the value of the on the field coach. I would love to see what knowledge Boldin could pass down to a guy like Nelson Agholor.

Jeff Allen, Guard KC Chiefs: I would like to use this space to talk about the possibility of the Eagles signing a young, solid tackle like Mitchell Schwartz or Kelvin Beachum, but until the team does something with Jason Peters I doubt they’ll make a major move at the position prior to the draft. Instead, let me be a little bit of a basic bitch and explain why the Eagles should sign Jeff Allen. Ranked as the 10th best guard in football according to PFF, Allen is one of the best run blockers in the league and, at only 26 years old, should be just hitting the prime of his career. I normally find that teams should stay away from high profile guards because they can be too scheme specific, but seeing as how the Eagles should be running an offense reminiscent to that of KC’s, Jeff Allen shouldn’t skip a beat. The one down side to Allen is his injury history, dude has a laundry list of ailments that would make even Sam Bradford pull his shirt collar. Maybe Im exaggerating a little, but he missed all but one game last season due to elbow surgery, suffered an MCL sprain this season, and has struggled with shoulder and ankle issues in his 4 year career.

If Allen’s price gets a little too high or he decides to go elsewhere, Alex Boone could be a decent consolation. The 6’8 Boone leaves a little to be desired in the run game, but he one of the league’s best in pass protection and that’s where the Eagles need the most interior help.

Mario Williams, DE Buffalo Bills: Let me preface this by saying I don’t want Mario unless he’s being paid back up money, with that said, HOLY SHIT THE EAGLES MIGHT WANT TO SIGN MARIO WILLIAMS. The Eagles are set on both ends of the defensive line with Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham, but behind those two the team is sorely lacking. Right now, the only depth the team has at DE is Taylor Hart, Connor Barwin, and Brandon Bair, and I think Bair might be the only one suitable to play in a 4-3. There’s also Marcus Smith, but he’s still Marcus Smith. Williams is coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro registering only five sacks, but the season prior, when he was playing in Jim Schwartz scheme, set a career high with 14.5 sacks.

Williams comes with his fair share of red flags though, he is already 31 years old, he has been labeled selfish and many think he quit on his team down the stretch, and his high profile name may cause him to expect big money in free agency; some of his flaws though depend on which narrative you want to read into about the player. If the Eagles can get this guy on a low cost deal or something highly incentive based, it could go a long way. Rotating a player like Williams in with Brandon Graham may be the team’s best option, especially considering Graham has to get his body back into DE shape after moving to OLB.

Nick Fairley, DT St. Louis Rams: The Eagles defensive line is easily their biggest strength, but hey a little depth never hurt nobody. Nick Fairley played very well this season in limited snaps for the Rams, although it doesn’t really show up on the stat sheet. I doubt he’ll ever live up to the hype he had coming out of Auburn, but I think the guy can still play some decent football. Fairley has already played under Jim Schwartz in Detroit, so his familiarity with the scheme could prove beneficial, especially considering Bennie Logan has never played in a 4-3 defense. Plus, Fairley’s strength has always been getting to the quarterback and the thought of him lining up next to Fletcher Cox makes me a little giddy.

Mark Barron, LB St. Louis Rams: Please ignore the number of St. Louis Rams I have on this list, I really wasn’t expecting it to be this many. With the Eagles making the switch to a 4-3, I think it may be in their best interest to get their hands on one of those hybrid linebacker-safeties that have become all the rage in the NFL, something like a Shaq Thompson or Deone Bucannon type. Jim Schwartz’s pass rush had such great success in Buffalo because his defense had unbelievable pass coverage skills, the Eagles don’t. Mychael Kendricks is the team’s weakest player in coverage, he has natural play making skills but he gets exposed when he drops back. Mark Barron is a former top ten draft pick at safety who made the transition to linebacker this past season and showed a little bit of promise, in his first game at the position he finished with 16 tackles, two for a loss, and two forced fumbles. Although he isn’t exactly the league’s best in coverage, he’s much better than anything Kendricks showed last season, finishing with a league worst 28.7 coverage grade. Barron has a natural nose for the football and is constantly around the ball, if the Eagle can pry him from the Rams, he could be a nice rotational option for Kendricks on passing downs.

George Iloka, S Cincinnati Bengals: If there was one position I expect the Eagles to shell out the buku bucks, it’s safety; the only problem is Im not too sure what the Eagles will be looking for in a safety. During his time in Buffalo, Jim Schwartz was able to run whatever coverage scheme his heart desired alternating between man, zone, and man under primarily out of a 4-3 base or a nickel defense. Some times Schwartz would roll out a three safety look, sometimes he’d go with a zero safety look, the Bills’ defense gave him that much versatility. Schwartz may be looking for a number of different things in his safety, but luckily for the Eagles there’s a pretty diverse free agent safety pool. George Iloka is the cream of the free agent safety crop, he’s a young player who’s already established himself as one of the position’s better players. the 26 year old Iloka doesn’t have one WOW aspect of his game, but he’s all around solid. He won’t make a lot of highlight reel plays, but neither will the guy he’s playing against. At 6’4, 225 lb, Iloka has great size for his position and is just as capable dropping back into coverage as he is playing up at the line of scrimmage.

Because I think the Eagles will shell out the cash for a solid safety, and I know how much Howie Roseman loves his big name players, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Eagles make a play for Eric Weddle. The 31 year old Weddle finished the season with the second highest coverage grade among safeties according to PFF, but showed some signs of regression. His run defense was a little bit iffy at times, as he posted an unimpressive run defense grade and had the fewest total tackles since his rookie season. For comparison sake, Eric Weddle 2015 season was very similar to that of Charles Woodson’s with way less turnovers.

If the Jim Schwartz wants his safety to play up close to the line of scrimmage, a player like the Detroit Lion’s Isa Abdul Quddus could interest the Eagles. At 26 years old, the 6’1 201 pounder finished with a top ten run defense grade and was ranked five spots higher than Walter Thurmond. Isa’s impact was clearly visible as the Lions lost every game were he absent from the starting lineup and won almost every game he started. He played a big role in the Lion’s midseason defensive turn around. If the Eagles are looking for more of a center fielder who can just roam the middle of the defense, the recently released Rahim Moore could be tempting. Before turning into a complete hot mess with the Houston Texans, Moore established himself as one of the league’s best center fielders with the Denver Broncos. He doesn’t offer much in terms of run support, but he more than makes up for it with his coverage skills, or at least he use to. Perhaps a reunion with his former defensive backs coach, Cory Undlin, could have him playing like his former self.

 

Remember to follow @SBandBatteries to keep up with all the random thoughts I have throughout the day.

 

So We Meet Again: Jim Schwartz brings wide 9 back to Philly

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It had long been speculated since the moment Chip Kelly was let go, but new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz made it official last week on WIP, the Eagles will be running a 4-3 defensive scheme. The last time the Eagles ran this style of defense was back in 2012, when Big Red was still a bird.

A scheme change may not be the worst idea for a unit that nearly gave up 40+ points six times over the last seven games of the season.

Jim Schwartz doesn’t run your traditional 4-3 style defense, instead he runs everyone’s favorite: THE WIDE 9! and honestly, Im not sure what to expect. I think this change in defense could either go really good or really bad, but then again, really bad would basically just be more of the same.

The defensive line is obviously the group that benefits the most from the scheme change. I hope they’ve got their bibs ready because THESE GUYS ARE GONNA BE EATIN. Fletcher Cox had 9.5 sacks last season opening lanes for linebackers, the thought of him exclusively harassing QBs is pretty mouth watering. Then there’s Vinny Curry who’s playing in the proper scheme for the first real time in his career (his rookie season doesn’t count), big things may be in his future. I question if Brandon Graham will have a seamless transition back to his old position, he spent two seasons losing weight getting in outside linebacker shape. Right now, Graham is listed at 265 which isn’t bad, but given his short sizes, he might wanna add a few lbs.

Bennie Logan finds himself in kind of an interesting situation. He is a free agent next season and has never played in a 4-3 before. It’s not hard to imagine the Eagles fall in love with one of the many studdly defensive line prospects leading up to the draft and make Logan available. Bennie Logan has developed into one of the league’s better nose tackles, so you might be able to get some decent value in a trade.

I think the linebackers are either going to make or break this defense. If the season were to start tomorrow, Jordan Hicks would be lining up in the middle with Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks on either side of him. In a 4-3, there’s an emphasis put on the linebacker to play the run. Last season, Jordan Hicks left a bit to be desired playing the run, he earned a 38.7 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus. Considering how a poor run defense got the Eagles killed last time they ran a wide 9, Im a little nervous. I do think Hicks can grow into a good middle linebacker, but it’ll take some time. Im just glad that DeMeco Ryans is still a part of this team, Simba is gonna need his Mufasa.

Mychal Kendricks and Connor Barwin are two guys I would actively be shopping this offseason. Barwin isn’t really fit for a 4-3, I don’t think he has the defensive moves to play defensive end and he is nowhere near good enough in run or pass coverage to play outside linebacker. Barwin lead the NFC in sacks last season with 14.5, Im sure some 3-4 team would be willing to buy in on the linebacker. I would trade Kendricks because he has become a total liability in coverage, he received a 28.7 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. When you look at the Carolina Panthers’ linebackers, the strength of their team, they all have one thing in common: they’re awesome in pass coverage. Kendricks is great against the run and can get into the backfield pretty well, but I can’t stomach seeing another long third down conversion because Kendricks got beat in coverage. If Jaylon Smith or Myles Jack are available when the Eagles are on the clock in May, I’d take them and trade Kendricks in a heartbeat.

A lot can change between now and the start of the season, Chip Kelly taught us that one, so this defense could look very different come September. There’s one thing we know for sure though, the wide 9 is back and better than ever! Once you get over the Jason Babin flashbacks, it’s a little exciting.

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Get To Know Your Coaching Candidates

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For the second time in five seasons, the Eagles are on the hunt for a new head coach. The team parted ways with Chip Kelly about a little over a week ago and have wasted no time seeking out his replacement.

We now live in a media driven world where major rumors can spring up and then be stomped out in a matter of moments. Keeping track of all the candidates being linked to the Eagles can be a little bit dizzying, but luckily Im here to make your life a little easier.

I’ve put together a neat little list of names worth paying attention to during the Eagles head coaching search, so you don’t have to worry your pretty little head about whats coming out of the rumor mill.

So without further ado, here are the names to keep a close eye on while the Eagles take a ride on the coaching carousel:

Deuce Staley: Former Eagles’ running back and running back’s coach. Staley was the first person to interview for the vacant coaching job. He’s an interesting option, but I doubt he gets the job solely based on his lack of NFL coaching experience. Really, the only reason he even got the interview was because he asked for it, and because he’s black, but that’s more just the NFL’s thinking. There is a possibility that he could serve as the team’s offensive coordinator next season, but that’s something the next head coach will have to decide.

Pat Shurmer: Former offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams and head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Also served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly and the team’s interim head coach after his release. Shurmer preformed admirably in the team’s season finale earning a win over the New York Giants, but that’s not nearly close to enough to earn him a head coaching job. I see Pat Shurmer more as the Eagles’ back up plan. If they strike out on all the candidates they’re looking at, they can lean on Shurmer for a year until something better comes along. Something worth noting is his ties to Sam Bradford. Before this season, Sam Bradford had his best season playing under Shurmer is St. Louis. In free agency, if it comes down to Bradford picking a familiar face, having Shurmer around might not be the worst idea.

David Shaw: Now I have to admit Im kidding myself a little bit on this one, but I mean a kid can dream. David Shaw is the person coaching the Eagles in my dreams, he is far and away my favorite candidate for Chip’s old job. Shaw is currently the head coach at Stanford university and is a disciple of Jim Harbaugh. Shaw’s name has been linked to the Eagles as well several other teams, but he has yet to make his feelings known if he wants to make the jump to the pros. The consensus feeling now is that he will not be going pro. If he ever does decide to go big time, the Eagles might be an option for them. Shaw served as an Eagles’ assistant coach in the late 90’s.

Hue Jackson: Former Oakland Raiders head coach and current Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator. I like Jackson as a head coaching option. The guy only lasted a season in Oakland but his firing had more to do with a change in management wanting a head coach of their choice. Jackson led the Raiders to an 8-8 record, the closest thing to a winning record the Raiders have seen in quite sometime. As the offensive coordinator, Jackson has worked wonders on the Bengals’ offense. He turned Andy Dalton from the one of the most painfully average quarter backs into one of the best young QBs in the game. Jackson has turned the Bengals into the 7th highest scoring offense in football averaging about 26 points per game. The thing I like the most about Jackson is what he can do with running backs. He made Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill even more renowned as a running back tandem and he helped Darren McFadden to a career best 1,664 yards of total offense in 2010. Due to his team actually being good, Jackson can not yet interview for coaching jobs. He has three interviews scheduled for Sunday with the Browns, Dolphins, and Niners. The Eagles have yet to express any interest in Jackson.

Adam Gase: Former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator and current Chicago Bears offensive coordinator. Ok, this is the biggey. This is the top dawg. This is the guy that every organization is gunning for. He is the hot young offensive mind who is ready to take the world by storm. This is the guy that I think is riding a ton of unwarranted hype and will fizzle out pretty quickly, a la Josh McDaniels and, so far, Mike McCoy. Everyone is making this guy out to be some type of quarter back savior, but honestly, I don’t see it. People give him credit for Peyton Manning’s career year in Denver, but having Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas helps a lot. Oh and there’s the whole HGH thing. I’m sure Gase did a lot for that offense, but Peyton was great long before Gase came around. Then there’s Jay Cutler, who people say was completely transformed by Adam Gase, but his numbers are still as Jay Cutler-y as possible. Sure, Cutler threw less picks, seven less to be exact, but his touchdowns fell by the same amount. Cutler finished 19th in passing yards, 28th in yards per game, 17th in touchdowns, and 18th in first downs. Seems to me like a very Jay Cutler season, AND YOU CALL THIS MAN A SAVIOR! The Bears were 23rd in the league in points per game and and 21st in yards per game, nothing about their offense is very impressive and yet this is the guy the everyone is begging for. The Eagles held an interview with Gase on Tuesday and have already invited him for a second interview this weekend. Gase also has an interview set with the Dolphins, who are said to be hot on his trail. Reports say the Dolphins don’t want Gase to leave without a contract.

Sean McDermott: Former Eagles defensive coordinator and current Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator. McDermott was the heir to Jim Johnson’s throne, but Jimmy left too deep of a butt print and McDermott got swallowed up. He only lasted a season, but that had more to do with him not being Jim Johnson, although there wasn’t much of an uproar when he was let go. Since joining Carolina, the Panthers’ defense has been a force, they’ve been top ten in points allowed twice reaching as high as second in the league in 2013 (15.1 pts/gm). It just goes to show you what McDermott could have been capable of with the right players. The one catch to McDermott’s success is Ron Rivera, he’s seen as more of a defensive minded head coach, so you can’t really be completely sure who’s responsible for the dominant defense. The Eagles have yet to schedule a meeting with McDermott or show any interest in the Carolina coordinator, but he has already expressed his desire to come back to Philly. McDermott’s name has been linked to multiple non-Philadelphia teams, most recently the New York Giants.

Doug Pederson: Former Eagles’ quarter backs coach and current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator. Peterson is a very intriguing option. Kansas City is a team known for their defense, while their offense has often been considered pretty vanilla thanks in large part to Alex Smith and a wide receiver group that didn’t catch a single touchdown in over a year. Things were looking pretty grim early in the season for KC after they started 1-4 and lost Jamaal Charles for the season, but their rebound has been astounding and I credit Pederson for that. The Chief’s have gone 10-1 since Charles’ injury, this is incredible considering Charles’ was KC’s entire offense. The Chiefs are now headed to the playoffs on the backs of 2nd and 3rd string RBs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. The two have accounted for 1,037 yards on the ground and ten TDs in relief of Charles. Pederson’s work in the run game is very much impressive, and with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews already en tow you might not need a superstar QB if you bring him on, just something super average like Alex Smith. Plus he’s an Andy Reid disciple which doesn’t hurt. Pederson has been linked to the Eagles practically since the job became available, but there are conflicting reports on the Eagles’ interest level. The Eagles are reportedly trying to interview Pederson some time after the Chief’s playoff game this Saturday. Some believe Pederson to be the strongest candidate for the Eagles job next to Adam Gase.

Ben McAdoo: Former Green Bay Packers quarter backs coach and current New York Giants offensive coordinator. People think Adam Gase works wonders on quarter backs, but I think Ben McAdoo does a much better job. McAdoo coached Aaron Rodgers to his only Super Bowl victory and helped Eli Manning set a career high in TDs this season. Limiting turnovers is where McAdoo really improves quarter backs. In his two years with Aaron Rodgers, Rodgers set a personal best for fewest interceptions thrown over a two year span. Before McAdoo, Eli Manning threw 27 picks and was coming off his career worst season, since then he has thrown 14 ints in consecutive seasons and is showing some actual signs of consistency. Eli also set a new personal best in passer rating at 93.6. What might be even more impressive is McAdoo’s work with Odell Beckham Jr. who broke the record for most receiving yards through two seasons, before he’s ever even played two full seasons. Before McAdoo came, the Giants were 28th in points per game, they’re now 6th in the league. Aaron Rodgers has only gotten better since being coached by McAdoo, the Giants offense continues to improve under him, they’ve gone from 28th to 10th and then to 8th in yards per game. If it can’t be David Shaw, than this is the guy I want. McAdoo has already interviewed for the Eagles’ vacant head coaching job, but a second meeting has yet to be scheduled. Ben is also the favorite for the Giant’s open coaching gig, so this one could get interesting.

Chip Dips: Eagles part ways with head coach

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Wow.

Like seriously, wow.

In a move that caught the entire world by surprise, Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie releases Chip Kelly after going 6-9 on the season. Pat Shurmer will serve as the interim head coach for the season finale against the Giants.

The language the team used to announce the move is very interesting. The team didn’t “fire” Chip Kelly, he was “released”. This wording may imply some mutuality in the release, but as of right now it seems as though this decision was Lurie’s alone.

I don’t agree with this move at all. It sets the team back and makes the past three seasons look like a total waste. Chip Kelly was a fourth quarter collapse away from winning the NFC East in consecutive years, but has one losing season and is shown the door.

I understand the reasoning for firing Chip. Once he finally had all the power, his finished product was pretty unsightly. He tried to make the team a little too college, but I don’t think that calls for the guy’s job.

Chip deserved a second chance to rebuild this team after two 10-6 campaigns, but instead he’ll get that opportunity with a new organization.

Some of the blame has to be put on Jeffrey Lurie. He has signed the checks on two huge offseason that marked the deaths of Andy Reid and Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia coaching career. He is the one constant that has remained from both regimes and allowed both to die of the similar causes. His ability to not learn from past mistakes has severely hurt this team.

This offseason stood as a huge question mark to me because I wasn’t sure how Chip was going to fix his mistakes. But now, I have no idea where this team is going.

What sucks even more is that Howie Roseman may get his old job back. So while there may be some major changes going on, crappy drafts are here to stay.

As of right now, my favorite coaching option may be David Fipp, but that’s making the huge assumption that he could be the next John Harbaugh. Instead I expect Lurie to go after a much bigger name, someone like Sean Peyton or Les Miles. If the Browns cut ties with Mike Pettine, he’d be another name I’d be interested in.

This release is the most immediate, knee jerk decision Jeffrey Lurie could of possibly made after one losing season. He’ll look pretty bad if Chip can find success with another team. All we can do now is sit back and watch as Chip Kelly turns Marcus Mariota into a perennial MVP candidate.

I don’t have a good feeling about this move. The only person who should be happy with this move is Howie Roseman. I fear that we may be sinking into a dark period of Philadelphia Eagles’ football. This city’s only somewhat respectable sports team now has no sense of direction.

GOD. HATES. THIS. CITY.

WELP…: A 2015 Eagles’ season retrospective

Kudos to the Washington Redskins, your 2015 NFC East Champions, for finally taking the Eagles behind a barn and mercifully putting them out of their misery.

This season was a hot shit sandwich and every bite went down as smooth as you might as expect.

This team came in with astronomical expectation thanks to a mirage of a preseason. I hate to admit it, but even I had Super Bowl aspirations after seeing what this team could do. But all those preseason games did was lull the Eagles into a false sense of skill that bit them hard in the ass once games actually started to matter.

The expectations were high, but the writing was on the wall that this season was going to be a disaster.

For starters, the Eagles didn’t play a single starting quarterback in the preseason, aside from a series of Andrew Luck in the first quarter of preseason week 1. The defense went completely untested, but that didn’t stop people from putting the Eagles’ front seven in the conversation for best in the league. It took about four weeks to show how wrong we all were. It’s stuff like this that made the team over confident.

Another false positive that game from the preseason was the offensive line. Things were manageable at first, but it didn’t take long for this wheels to fall off. This was the group I was most concerned with going into the season. Chip Kelly thought he could just plug in some kind of athletic back ups and his offensive line wouldn’t skip a beat, but NAAAAAAWWW. Not only was the guard position a complete liability all season, but it turned the center position into a weakness as well. Going into the season, not enough was made about the obvious lack of chemistry this group of players had with one another. Not one of these players had ever lined up next to one another and the lack of cohesion was pretty evident. With Jason Peters’ talent all but gone and Jason Kelce’s sudden drop in production, the offensive line is a bigger question mark now then before the season began.

The main reason I was so worried about the Eagles’ offensive line was because Chip went out and got himself a couple of players who would depend on an elite line: Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. As the season wore on, Bradford showed no reason for concern as his mobility improved with each week; his knees had me sweating. By the end of the season he was actually making defenders work for their sacks. Murray on the other hand showed no such improvement. Rather things just got worse as the season wore on. It became clear pretty quickly that DeMarco was the product of a stellar OLine in Dallas. He isn’t fast enough to run outside, his vision isn’t good enough to run inside unless there’s a hole the size of a semi, and he’s been nothing but a pouty, moody, distraction. His shortcomings have taken away the running game from Chip Kelly, that’s like telling Mike McCarthy not to throw the ball.

Making a second year wide receiver your team’s new number one was also a little bit questionable. People were expecting Jordan Matthews to match the productions of Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and that may of been a little bit much, but hey hindsights 20/20. What might of been even more ridiculous was expecting Nelson Agholor to match Maclin in his rookie season. Some of that may have been from the fact that Agholor is almost an exact clone of Maclin or from last season’s super rookies, but nonetheless it was a lot for a rookie. Then there was the fact the only veteran presence at this position was Riley Cooper and Miles Austin. Sam Bradford and the Eagles were doomed before this season ever started.

Then there’s the secondary, returning only one starter from last season. When there’s a new starter at four of your five secondary spots, you have to expect some growing pains. I really think trading Brandon Boykin was low-key one of the moves that killed this season.

Then there’s Byron Maxwell, who really doesn’t do anything well. All through the preseason this guy was getting burned and letting receivers get open, but he’d sprinkle in a turnover or pass break up every so often. Once the games started to matter, the turnovers and break ups came few and far between while the receiving yards kept raking up. Week 1 against Julio was just a sign of things to come.

Another player who came in riding a lot of hype was Kiko Alonso. Hell, he was basically the conductor of the Eagles’ hype train his season was being built up so much. Really, we should of been smarter than putting all of our eggs in Kiko’s basket. The guy was coming off a torn ACL, hadn’t played a down of football in over a year, missed the entire preseason, and then played a half of meaningful football before reinjurying his knee and missing about five more weeks. By the time he finally started playing regularly, he was about as rusty as Sam Bradford at the start of the season. Kiko is a player who is praised for his instincts, but when your away from your natural environment for too long, instincts can begin to weaken. Kiko has been playing poorly, but I feel as though its more due to disuse rather than lack of talent.

All in all, a lot of these wounds were self inflicted. Chip Kelly completely reshaped this team, and it may have been a little too college. The Eagles were one Ryan Broyles away from a BCS Championship team. This stuff may of worked on Saturdays, but shit won’t fly on Sundays.

Chip Kelly’s Eagles have been nothing but successful in his first two seasons finishing with 10-6 records in consecutive years. Those records are nice, but all they did was land the Eagles a couple of late first round picks. It may not of been pretty, but the Eagles need this season to restock the cupboard.

This offseason will decide if Chip is the real deal or just LSU’s next head coach.