Are The Eagles Better?

Posted: May 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 230 Comments »

The biggest parts of the offseason are over and the roster is fairly set. There could be an addition or two in the next few months, but the odds are that those would be role players and backup types instead of key starters.

Are the Eagles better than they were prior to March?

To me this was a no-brainer, but Brent over at Eagles Rewind doesn’t feel the same way.

- The Eagles, on paper, appear to be a worse team than they were last season.  I know this is a long term build, but it still hurts to see the team take a step backwards.  On offense, the team lost D-Jax and added two rookie WRs (not likely to contribute) and Darren Sproles (old and getting older).  On defense, the team added Malcolm Jenkins and Smith, who seems unlikely to start.  I know people expect guys like Ertz, Kendricks, Logan, etc…to get better, and that will probably happen (for at least 1 or 2 of them).  Still, I just don’t see any reasonably objective way to say this teams roster is better now than it was last season.

Again, I’d rather look long-term than short, but just start preparing yourselves for a potential step-backwards season.

All I can say is…wow.

I respect Brent and appreciate that he’s looking at things differently, but I don’t get this opinion at all.

First, I don’t get why Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff can’t be expected to contribute. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin both contributed as rookies, and that was in a more complex passing offense. Speaking of Maclin, why isn’t he mentioned at all? I know he’s coming off an ACL injury, but that happened last summer and these days players are coming back from standard ACL tears at a pretty high rate.

If the Eagles tried to replace Jackson with just a rookie or just Maclin, I could see some extreme skepticism. Instead, the Eagles brought back Maclin spent 2 early picks on WRs and added Sproles to help the passing game.

The defense added a veteran Safety in Malcolm Jenkins. That means that Nate Allen and Earl Wolff will battle for the other starting spot. Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins add depth at CB. If you don’t think that is important, just go re-watch the loss to San Diego. Bradley Fletcher missed that game and Philip Rivers threw for 419 yards and looked like Peyton friggin’ Manning.

Marcus Smith adds depth up front and gives the coaching staff an athletic option to mix into different packages if they want. He can play on the right or left side. The backup LOLB last year was Casey Matthews. That meant the coaches stuck with Connor Barwin as much as humanly possible.

Ideally Chip Kelly would rotate his players on defense to limit some of their wear and tear. The Eagles played more snaps on defense than any other team last year. They didn’t have the depth to rotate as much as they wanted. Players like Smith and Watkins and Taylor Hart and Beau Allen can help that situation. They don’t have to start or make lots of plays in order to help the defense.

I get that the Eagles lost a star player in DeSean Jackson and didn’t replace him with an obvious star. That fact is going to skew the perception of some folks when it comes to the offseason discussion. I don’t know if Brent is in that camp and I don’t want to try and speak for him.

I’m not sure enough people appreciate the Foles angle in regard to DeSean Jackson. Foles doesn’t have a great arm and he’s not a consistently good vertical passer. Jackson had 3 catches that covered 50 or more yards from Foles. One was a short pass from Foles in the MIN game that Jackson turned into a big play with a long run after the catch. There was the 55-yard TD vs the Packers on a ball that was underthrown. Foles did make a pretty good throw for a 59-yard gain in the Oakland game.

Jackson is a dynamic deep receiver. Foles is not a dynamic deep passer. Jackson was still a good receiver for Foles and the Eagles last year, but his value becomes diminished because of the fit. You’re limiting what makes him special.

There is no denying that losing Jackson will affect the offense, but I think it won’t be nearly the same as if Vick or even McNabb was the QB. They were much better vertical passers. Foles excels on short and intermediate throws. This is where having a WR corps of Cooper, Maclin, Matthews and Huff should be fine. You lose some verticality, but gain some physicality.

It would have been great to see the Eagles land some major impact players this offseason, but the team didn’t miss out on anyone that I coveted. There was no Kearse or TO to go get. Brian Orakpo would have made the most sense, but he got tagged. I admit to being curious about DeMarcus Ware, but age and injuries have started to affect him. Darelle Revis would have been interesting, but I’m guessing Kelly didn’t want a “mercenary”. Revis wanted a 1-year deal so he could turn around and go for another mega-deal in 2015.

There were no slam dunk, can’t miss, gotta have him guys for the Eagles.

Another question some may have is at QB. If Foles gets hurt, can Mark Sanchez or Matt Barkley win games? That is a mystery. But it also would have been with Vick. He was an erratic player for the Eagles and lost his starting job last year. He didn’t want to return as a backup. I’m not worried about Sanchez or Barkley for a game or two. You can argue that having Vick would have helped if Foles went down long term, but then you have to acknowledge Vick’s biggest problem…getting hurt himself. He never stayed healthy for the Eagles and when he got dinged, his performance level dropped quite a bit.

I think Sanchez is a better acquisition than people realize. He failed in New York because the Jets saw him as a franchise QB, which I don’t, and because they failed to keep the right pieces around him. Sanchez has made some big plays in some big games. He’s just not a guy you build a team around. I think he can be a solid backup.

While the team may not have gotten the dramatic help many wanted, I do think it got better. I see the loss of Jackson and Jason Avant as a wash when you look at Maclin, Matthews, Huff and Sproles coming in. I realize I’m projecting with the rookies, but they have the size, skills and athleticism to help right away. They also have experience in a similar offense that makes the adjustment easier.

The defense didn’t lose any key players, but added a good FS, some CBs and an athletic OLB. How is that not an improvement?

If you’re stuck on Jackson, that’s fine. I disagree, but I get that.

I just think the team brought in too many talented players to think that it took a step back. That isn’t to say the Eagles might not go 9-7 this year or something like that. There are no guarantees when it comes to results. We saw that when the 2011 offseason happened and the Eagles added all the big names, but the team got worse.

If you’re asking me whether I like the 2013 roster better than the 2014 roster, no way.  I’ll take the current group in a heartbeat. Kelly has brought in another set of players who fit his system and fit his football culture. They also happen to be pretty talented as well.

I respect Brent and am glad he sees things differently. The world is more fun when we don’t agree. Dissent can be a very good thing.

_


  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Good and program focused organizations like the Eaglea aspire to be should think about the future with the draft. with that in mind, what second year players should have a big impact in 2014? Ertz seems obvious, but who else? Maybe an UDFA from last year? Couldit be Wolff?

    • Mitchell

      Lane Johnson.

    • Media Mike

      Even if Wolff only gets healthier instead of better, he’s still better than Chung.

      • Nicodemus_09

        Having a player completely missing on defense. 10 players. Is an improvement over Chung. lol Just give me a Safety with a pulse and a knack for hitting someone other than his own teammates, & I’m liking our D’s chances better already bro. I’m so glad that mook won’t be sullying our good name anymore. : )

    • Mr. Toledo

      wouldnt be surprised to see barkey beat out sanchez and run the offense as qb2 effectively if need be….

    • ICDogg

      Bennie Logan.

  • Media Mike

    I’m one of the most “stuck” people on not wanting to have removed Jackson from this roster (especially in a panicked manner while receiving zero compensation for him and after the free agent class was all signed elsewhere and especially for “unnamed source” Maclin as the #1 WR, etc. etc. etc.), but to say the roster got worse is a bit out of line.

    Foles gets the entire off-season and the clear #1.
    Chung is off of the roster.
    Chung is off of the roster.
    Chung is a sucky person……….ok y’all get it. Glad we added a functional safety in Jenkins.
    Ertz, Lane, and Logan will all be improved.
    They added several positional upgrades on special teams.
    Chung sucked.
    MURDER LEG
    They added several rookies who will contribute on all 3 units.

    • Mitchell

      Really not happy with not getting ANYTHING for Jackson, but no one would bite. I don’t think it was a matter of Howie being greedy but rather no one making an offer.

      • Media Mike

        Yeah, totally plausible…………but that doesn’t explain why we did so after free agency was done.

        All of the Jackson stuff aside, I can’t see this off-season as a worsening.

        • FairOaks

          I think they needed to re-sign Cooper and/or Maclin before they could realistically try to trade Jackson. If they let Jackson go, then lost Cooper and Maclin to free agency, they would have been in a really, really bad position WR-wise (even with two rookies), and it would have been a lot more legitimate to wonder if the Eagles really did get worse. Maybe after the Sproles trade it became more realistic (Sproles could replace some of Jackson’ elusiveness and keeping the defense honest), but I’m guessing they really needed to re-sign their own free agents first, so had to wait at least that long. (Not to mention, had they traded him away early, I would imagine the salary demands of Maclin and Cooper would have gone up a tad.)

        • Scott J

          How do you know they didn’t try to trade him during free agency? I read reports that said he was shopped prior to the winter meeting.

      • Midnight_Greenville

        If it makes you feel better, you can tell yourself we got a 4th (conditional 3rd) for DeSean, but had to release Bryce Brown.

        • Mitchell

          I do feel a bit better now. :)

        • Media Mike

          I won’t truly feel better until Maclin is also gone.

    • Midnight_Greenville

      Totally agree. If we had the exact same roster as last year we would be better due to Foles’ opportunity to get 1st team reps all offseason (and Chip’s opportunity to design offense around his strengths). And the 2nd year after switching to a 3-4 makes a big difference. I believe the Packers made a big jump in Capers’ 2nd year running the 3-4. Maybe we can’t expect the same improvement here, but an improvement seems likely with players being able to learn nuance in camp this year, not the basics. And then there are some obvious upgrades such as Jenkins, a (hopefully) full season of Wolff. I agree the record won’t necessarily be better, but I am convinced the team will be. (Just like Foles’ stats might not improve even if he does).

    • anon

      We assume Jenkins is decent, but don’t forget Saints let him walk and basically revamped the whole secondary. Not a great sign for a guy that watches a ton of tape, etc.

      • xlGmanlx

        We were also considered lucky to win the NA sweepstakes… other teams get it wrong sometimes too. But why can’t both teams be right too?

      • bill

        Totally different schemes and expected responsibilities. Saints wanted a specialist. Eagles wanted a jack of all trades. Doesn’t mean either of them will actually work out, but I’d put money on Jenkins being significantly better than Chung.

  • Mitchell

    I’m still upset we didn’t get Donte Johnson. Is that ok?

    • Mitchell

      Hell I’m still mad we didn’t get T.J. McDonald from last draft. He was a FG blocking machine.

      • Media Mike

        We already have a machine to create missed FGs…………his name is Alex Henery.

        • Mitchell

          LOL. O you.

    • TommyLawlor

      Dontae Johnson says no. :)

      • Mitchell

        You know what, that’s fine Mr. Johnson I will be just fine kicking your heiny when we play S.F. this year.

    • Media Mike

      I’m saving drafting upset for the NBA lottery tomorrow night.

      • gherbox

        Whats an NBA?

  • Mitchell

    Can not wait for mini-camps btw. When do ours start?

  • ChaosOnion

    “Did you hear about the Montreal Alouettes? They let their star WR walk for no compensation. They got nothing for him! Their remaining WR corps consists of a one year wonder, 2 guys coming off ACL tears, a 30+ year old RB, 2 rookies and some guy name Johnson. Yeah, he’s tiny! Their QB is young, but still relatively untested. The o-line is still great (RG is getting a little slow) and they do still have the best RB in the league.”

    “Their largest defensive hole was at S, which they patched in the off season and the draft…in the 5th rounder. They got a pass rusher, but he will probably be a situational guy this year and they added some depth. Do you think they got better?”

    I am not saying I agree, but I can see where he is coming from. Pragmatism can be misconstrued as negativity. I love the Jordan Matthews pick, but most rookies WRs do not contribute their first year. I really hope Marcus Smith can eventually replace Trent Cole. There is a less that 50% chance first round picks have NFL success.

    I think what I am most disappointed with this off season is not getting something from Curry or Graham. By all accounts, they are good players and would have success in a different system. I would like to see the Eagles get something in return for them.

    • Media Mike

      This is a strong chance we can flip Graham and Curry for draft picks once 4-3 teams get ready to start camp and realize their DEs stink. Or if any of those other teams have a major injury to a DE, we can get right on trading them Curry or Graham.

      • ChaosOnion

        I hope so. Not wishing for anyone to have an injury, but i would like to see what Graham can do somewhere else. I would like them to hold on to Curry for one more season just to see if he can contribute because I love the kid. That is a purely selfish reason, but it is what it is.

    • Brazilnut

      Pragmatic would be saying that the Eagles have shuffled things around and didn’t get better or worse, saying they are worse on paper is just plain moronic. If you just look at the basic math its undeniable that they at least got better on paper.
      -Desean, Avant
      +Maclin, Matthews, Huff, Sproles
      Desean is really the only good player the Eagles lost this year, and they’ve added enough pieces on offense to make up for it and then some. And thats without even getting into the improvements on Defense and Special Teams.

    • robo40

      If that picture is supposed to represent the Eagles, it does so from the perspective of an extremely casual fan. You can be pragmatic and say there are no guarantees the Eagles will be better next year. It’s a show me league. But saying they aren’t better on paper is to deny not only that the Eagles mgmt know what they are doing, but also invalidates the incredibly important job we fans do in the offseason. ;)

      There’s every reason to be excited about the 2014 season. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Weapon Y

    If Foles gets hurt, all bets are off. I am highly skeptical of both Sanchez and Barkley. At least with Vick, the running game would be very good and the passing game (in Kelly’s offense) would be, at worst, mediocre. I have nowhere near the confidence level in the backup QB position that I did before. Things can still change, but the Eagles now face a major risk.

    • Media Mike

      True, but totally unavoidable. With the soon to be increasing salary needs of young starts getting ready to hit their second contracts, we had to start trimming unnecessary salaries………….Vick fit that bill unless he wanted to play here for a vastly reduced salary.

    • D3FB

      If (fill in any playoff team here) quarterback gets hurt they are probably pretty cooked.

      • SteveH

        Except for whichever team has Joe Webb as their backup. That team doesn’t realize Webb is a hall of famer if he could just get in the game. He probably would have taken state if coach would have just put him in.

      • Cafone

        Except the Eagles last year.

    • Midnight_Greenville

      If any really good team loses their starting QB for an extended time, all bets are off. I actually trust Sanchez to come in and run this offense for a few games if he needs to. Chip can adjust, and his skills are similar to Foles. I would even trust Barkley to do it if he actually got a week of first team reps. Having him come in as a back-up or 3rd string in the middle of the game as a rookie is really no way to judge what he can do.

    • xlGmanlx

      I liked Barkley, he was fearless, but I think he has the IQ to not make the same mistakes twice, I thought he was pressing. His arm I think had more zip than most thought, and reports are he is even stronger, so I think he can make most of the throws, and he has shown the ability to make quick reads and get the ball out of his hands. If he can improve the decision making, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some success while foles recovered.

  • shah8

    I never really bothered with the “on paper” part, since I do believe Foles will most likely come down to earth and below–and that will be the big part of the regression. On an added note, for all the talk that Vick is injury prone, so far, Foles is not really less so, including college and pros.

    On paper, I think Tommy is looking through *very* rosy lens. We lost a lot of *peak* capacity over the offseason, Vick, Djax, BBrown, on offense. We added so-so talent on offense and defense. In specific terms, relative to other teams, we only gained a Maclin a year removed from ACL reconstruction. Most everyone gets better after the draft, of course, on paper, and we won’t know until games just how much better. Thing is, there’s nobody that we picked that looks like anyone who could really star on either offense or defense.

    And broadly, I have a very serious problem with the philosophy that you don’t need stars. Do you think that Peyton Manning would have *any* rings at all if Bob Sanders wasn’t on his championship team? And Bob Sanders was, from the start, fairly injury prone. Lastly, Bob Sanders was pretty much the fourth or fifth most important player on that Colts team during the championship playoff run. Almost like Richard Sherman’s deflection, Bob Sanders did his superman bit just for the chance to tie or win the game, which Manning promptly did. You cannot win in the postseason without dominant players. You can’t win in the postseason either, with undertalented QBs, but that’s just a lesson people will learn and forget, because there are only so many good ones.

    To put more of a sense of urgency on this, my direct experience with the Vikings and with Georgia Tech makes me strongly inclined to believe that talent is everything. If the guy isn’t utilizing his talent to the utmost, then I blame the *coaches* and not the player until I *know* said player is a knucklehead. It’s weird, people blame coaches for not being able to shine a turd like Ponder, and blame the talented players for not succeeding in dysfunctional coaching situations. Paul Johnson came to Georgia Tech, found a bounty of Chan Gailey recruited talent–lots of it NFL draftable talent, and promptly won some games with the triple-option. From the start, there was always talk about how Paul Johnson doesn’t have the *real* talent yet to properly run his scheme. But Paul Johnson never recruited the sort of OL talent that he had to have, and the triple option only works so well with only so much talent. You’ll beat the poorly coached teams, but will have trouble handling just about any talented defense that is well coached. So once Gailey’s top shelf talent left (and I bet recruits noted Joshua Nesbitt and others ultimate lack of success, and avoided GT), Paul Johnson couldn’t really get the program to advance, and now he’s pretty much on his way out. At this point, I am almost set to expect the same for Chip Kelly. Not because I hate him or hate his system–I *like* this sort of football! But because he apparently isn’t able to keep talent (or respect talent not to his taste), you know? And lack of superlative talent always, always, always, catches up with you.

    • ryan pertl

      Yes, losing our backup QB and our third string RB is sure going to hurt us.

      • SteveH

        Chip Kelly just couldn’t see what “peak talents” they were.

    • Sean

      Clearly, one instance of him jettisoning a player he felt was, in more ways than one, hurting the team just proves that Chip hates talented players. You’re right, he should keep all of the previous regime’s players around, fit and character be damned!!

      • Joe Minx

        Seriously. A terribly myopic argument with a sample size of exactly ONE to base it on.

    • Sean

      Nick Foles has missed two games in two years in the NFL, one of which he could have played in, but sat out since the the team was 4-11. Vick, on the other hand, has an extensive injury history that has persisted throughout the entirety of his career (http://www.kffl.com/player/96/nfl/injury_history/michael-vick). Vick is considerably more injury-prone, not only in practice, but also in common sense (slighter build, style of play exposing him to hits).

    • A_T_G

      Have you seen any signs of players not wanting to come to Philly, as you imply in your sense of urgency parallel? Dix was begging for us to trade up for him, Mathews studied tape to impress the coaches, Benn took a pay cut for a chance to compete against 37 other WR for possibly one open spot. Even DJax’s posts were ecstatic when he thought he was staying. Players want to come here because they see what is growing.

    • stephenstempo

      more important than Vick getting injured was that he also wasn’t very good.

    • Cafone

      I don’t see any basis for the assumption that Foles will regress. I think we all agree that quick decision making is the most important attribute for a quarterback in this offense and Foles seems to excel in this area and should only get better now that he has played for a year in the system and will have a full training camp as the starter. He’s got excellent physical size and seems to be a natural leader. He may not put up the same TD/Int ratio, but in the end all we care about is wins.

      • Mike Flick

        I think we want to think he should just be average.

        It is at all strange to think he might be actually better. Throw more TDs than he did last season while keeping his int percentage down. He threw 27 in what 10 games? Playing 16, there is a real chance that he could have a whole lot more.

        Plus the offense as a whole will be in its 2nd year.

  • UWotM8

    Let’s try looking at it this way, comparing the changes from last year position by position.

    Lost DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant and added Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, and Josh Huff, and Arrelious Benn (if healthy for a change) at WR. Even though I think these additions will collectively replace DeSean and Avants production, for the sake of argument we’ll call this a LOSS.

    Lost Michael Vick and added Mark Sanchez at QB. LOSS

    Lost Bryce Brown and added Henry Josey? WASH

    Lost Patrick Chung, Kurt Coleman, and Colt Anderson and added Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Maragos, and Ed Reynolds at S. IMPROVEMENT.

    Added Nolan Caroll and Jaylen Watkins at CB. IMPROVEMENT

    Lost Phillip Hunt and added Marcus Smith and Bryan Braman at OLB. IMPROVEMENT

    Added Jason Phillips at ILB. MEH, IMPROVEMENT i guess.

    Lost Clifton Geathers and added Joe Krugar, Taylor Hart, and Beau Allen at DL. IMPROVEMENT

    Looking at it in this context, I really don’t see how anyone can realistically say that we’re worse off than we were last year, barring significant injury. Even if they think that the loss of DeSean is going to be a huge blow to the WR corps, the improvements made to the rest of the roster more than make up for it.

    • Cafone

      Jenkins should be a clear improvement over Chung, but saying Chris Maragos and Ed Reynolds are improvements is really just guesswork at this point.

      The same goes for Nolan Caroll and Jaylen Watkins. We don’t even know if they will make the team yet. Sure Nolan Caroll started for Miami, but so did Dimitri Patterson. Would we be calling Patterson a clear upgrade?

      I don’t know if backup QB is a clear loss. I’m very curious to see how Sanchez will play in this system. And I’m also optimistic that Barkley will look pretty good with a year under his belt.

      • Media Mike

        Maragos, Reynolds, and Carroll will all come in and help improve special teams.

        • Mike Flick

          You know last season with all the talk of focusing on special teams, I was really disappointed on how bad the units were.

          We lost colt anderson, and will churn the back half of the roster. I don’t see a home run returner, I don’t see our kicking game improving. Here is to hoping our coverage units improve.

      • UWotM8

        I agree, but there is way too much guesswork about who exactly is replacing who and whether or not they are going to make the team so I found it easier and still relatively effective to group the loss vs. gain at every position as a whole.

        While that may be true when compared to the starters, I don’t think anybody would argue that Patterson would’nt be an upgrade over Curtis Marsh.

        I don’t see how going from Michael Vick at #2 and Matt Barkley at #3 to Matt Barkley at #2 and Mark Sanchez at #3 can be seen as anything other than a loss. Say what you want about his ability as a starting QB, but I don’t think there would be a better backup QB in the entire league had he re-signed in Philly.

        • suthrneagle

          But he didn`t want to, did he?
          So what`s a team to do?…
          Go find a replacement,yes?

          • UWotM8

            And your point is?

          • suthrneagle

            The point is he is no longer here for 2 reasons;
            him not wanting to return to a second string position
            and the Eagles not persuing, so they must not see his exist as a loss.

          • UWotM8

            How so? So you’re saying that because Vick signed with another team to get a better shot at starting that that must mean that the Eagles wouldn’t have welcomed him back in a backup role if he wanted to? I don’t think so.

  • mksp

    I think the upgrade in talent & the roster is pretty obvious.

    Malcom Jenkins > Patrick Chung
    Nolan Carroll > Curtis Marsh
    Jaylen Watkins > Roc Carmichael

    Joe Kruger / Taylor Hart > Clifton Geathers
    Beau Allen > Isaac Sopoaga
    Marcus Smith > Casey Matthews

    Jordan Matthews > Jason Avant
    Josh Huff > Jeff Maehl
    Jeremy Maclin Bryce Brown (in Chip’s scheme)

    The starting 22 are better, and depth is much better. Unless you think DeSean is so irreplaceable that all the other upgrades across the roster are insignificant compared to the downgrade to Maclin from DJax. Which I don’t.

    • xlGmanlx

      Pretty much this list and you can replace Colt Anderson/Kurt Coleman with upgrades at the DL/LB spots or a potential UFA (Boone?) as a WR taking Smith’s spot? Otherwise I agree with this post, Kelly will have competition and the best will rise to the top. I expect an uptick in ST play this year as well. When it appears they have depth, these rooks/2nd year players will have to make a name on ST to see the field in other phases, win/win.

    • D3Center

      I don’t think comparing Darren Sproles to Bryce Brown is the best comparison.Chris Polk, who I believe, while less naturally talented than Brown, is the better player, will take almost all of the carries Bryce got last year.

      • xlGmanlx

        Some of those carries will become receptions by Sproles.

        • D3Center

          I’m not 100% sold on that. Chip loves to run the ball so I don’t see him running the ball much less unless he has to. I think a lot of Sproles receptions will come from balls that would have gone to Desean, Avant, and probably some from Shady to reduce his touches and keep him fresher.

          • xlGmanlx

            I would trust Kelly to create mismatches, one of those would be sproles to exploit a certain tendency as a wrinkle to one of their many option plays. It isn’t about a formation, it is about creating favorable matchups by using all the pieces on the board on all of the field. He does certain things that requires specific game planning, and as option 3-5 with a quick thinking smart QB, is more than likely going to lead to favorable matchup for sproles, either as run/pass, he will get some “touches.” that were DJAX’s.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      I’d also add Braman and Maragos, likely upgrades over 2 ST guys as well (casey? kurt/colt?)

      and of course, Sanchez > Vick as backup :)

    • Dominik

      “Marcus Smith > Casey Matthews”

      If not, be prepared for a full ‘Liam Neeson in 96 hours’ mode.

    • Nicodemus_09

      Trash Can > Damion Square?

  • mksp

    For everybody wondering the details of the Bryce Brown trade, I did some digging. In general, I think ideally Stevie Johnson doesn’t hit the conditions and we just get SF’s 4th rounder in 2014.

    Apologize if someone has already posted this:

    The Bills will send a 2015 fourth-round selection to Philadelphia if:
    – Stevie Johnson does not meet production-based conditions in San Francisco in 2014.
    – Bryce Brown does not meet production-based conditions in Buffalo in 2014.

    The Bills will send a 2016 fourth-round selection to Philadelphia if:
    – Stevie Johnson does meet production-based conditions in San Francisco in 2014.
    – Bryce Brown does not meet production-based conditions in Buffalo in either 2014 or 2015.

    The Bills will send a 2016 third-round selection to Philadelphia if:
    – Stevie Johnson does meet production-based conditions in San Francisco in 2014.
    – Bryce Brown does meet production-based conditions in Buffalo in either 2014 or 2015.

    http://www.wgr550.com/pages/9034669.php?pid=400723

    • A_T_G

      Good stuff. Do we get the Bills pick? I thought we got the SF pick, which could reasonably be 15 or 20 spots lower.

      • mksp

        I think it depends.

        If 2015 4th bc Stevie Johnson doesn’t meet conditions, then its probably the SF pick, right?

        If its a 2016 pick it may be a Bills pick…..

      • Dominik

        Wondered about that one, thanks for the digging! I just don’t get the Bryce Brown conditions. We got the pick the 49ers will send to the Bills, don’t we? Why does it matter how BB performs? San Francisco will have to send the pick if Johnson produces.

        • mksp

          No, because if SJ meets his conditions in 2014, the Bills will get SF’s 3rd round pick, and won’t be required to convey it to us.

          The weird structure is to prevent the Eagles from getting a 2015 3rd round pick for Bryce Brown, which is understandable.

  • ryan pertl

    Kind of hurts his whole analytical appeal when he’s so clearly letting emotion over losing Jackson dictate the mood of his posts. His site, much like this one, is on my daily visit list, but I hope he gets back to his old style and stops dwelling on the decision.

  • A_T_G

    Does anyone think Damarius or Maehl or Emil or Casey or Roc or (if they were in camp) Geathers, Colt, Coleman would have a chance at making the final 53 on this year’s team? Me either. Not because they are worse, because we are better.

    • Cafone

      I agree the defense should be much improved. I am very optimistic about the addition of Jenkins, the prospect for improved play in the second year of the 3-4, and the continued improvement of the younger players.

    • Amber Jack

      casey will make the roster. They’re not going to eat 2 mil in dead money. Not to mention if Celek were to go down for an extended period of time Casey the only one who can block well enough in our run heavy offense to replace him.He is a swiss army knife that I don’t see Chip giving up on him this year.

      • A_T_G

        I actually meant Casey Mathews. I didn’t write Mathews because we just drafted a Mathews. I guess there really isn’t room for him if we have a Casey and a Mathews that we like better.

      • A_T_G

        I actually meant Casey Mathews. I didn’t write Mathews because we just drafted a Mathews. I guess there really isn’t room for him if we have a Casey and a Mathews that we like better.

    • xlGmanlx

      I was wrong about Coop last year, but I can’t see Matthews(casey), maehl, Roc, Damarius, Emil, geathers, Square, Knott, will have a final spot. Not with the draft picks this year, plus the IR’s/practice squad hopefuls. I keep hearing the boone(?) UFA is going to make the squad who could push someone like Benn out?

    • eagleyankfan

      I didn’t think Mathews should not have been on the team last year. But I guess they needed a warm body.

    • ICDogg

      On the other hand, one reason for some of those guys being on the team had to do with injuries in preseason and early in the season.

      Let’s say in an alternate universe Maclin and Benn were both healthy at the time Riley Cooper was suspended from the team after the racial incident.

      I think there is a good chance in that scenario that Cooper gets cut altogether.

      • A_T_G

        I believe that Cooper returned between the two injuries occurring. When the second one happened, I remember thinking it was good the Cooper decision happened before the injury, or the media would have had a field day.

        Still, your point is valid. Hopefully we are not fitting Roc Carmichael into a slot on the 53 because or CBs were decimated during camp.

  • Nicodemus_09

    Found a pic I thought a few of you would get a kick out of. : ) http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=webhp&tbm=isch&source=hp&ei=EsJ6U_GrL63QsQSovYDYDQ&q=cowboys+tornado+joke&oq=cowboys+tornado+joke&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.3…10988.34746.0.36471.21.21.0.1.1.0.4727.4727.9-1.1.0….0…1c.1.44.mobile-gws-hp..20.1.54.3.JNsV31IYt_0

  • Phyxius

    Yes, yes they are.

  • Cafone

    I was going to post a very similar comment, but I think you covered the major point I was going to make. If you look at it objectively, and not as an Eagles fan infatuated with Chip Kelly, it’s hard to say the offense is better than last year. Jackson has a lot of detractors, but by the numbers, he was on pace to be one of the best wide receivers in the history of the organization. Assuming he could duplicate last season’s success, he would have passed Harold Carmichael’s yardage total in 2-3 years, in 4-5 fewer seasons than Carmichael played. We’re not just talking about our current best receiver; We’re talking about a guy that was on pace to have his number retired.

    So maybe Maclin is a better fit for Kelly’s offense than Jackson. Maybe Maclin won’t lose anything or be a future injury risk after coming off his second ACL injury. Maybe Riley Cooper’s past season is more indicative of his potential than his performance in the previous three seasons. Maybe Arrelious Benn also won’t suffer anymore setbacks after his second ACL injury and he will show a consistency he has yet to display in the NFL. Maybe Sean Payton was wrong about Darren Sproles and he is worth more than a fifth round draft pick. Maybe the rookie wide receivers will come in and become solid NFL players where so many rookie wide receivers have failed in the past.

    Objectively, we’ve got a whole lot of maybes going on. Maybe we’ve got so many maybes that we only need a few of them to work out positively and the Eagles will be ok.

    I’ve got no problem with Chip Kelly rebuilding the roster the way he wants to rebuild it and I’ve got a lot of faith in Howie Roseman and the Eagles scouting staff. But I think it’s a good idea to look at the other side of the picture and temper our draft intoxicated optimism with a little bit of reality.

    • IAteLunchToday

      Maybe you will write a comment that is interesting. Maybe I’ll try to read another one of your comments in the future.

    • Alistair Middlemiss

      Thing is that the eagles would know where Maclin’s rehab is at. They tried to offer him a 5 year deal, which is a sure sign they believe his rehabilitation is coming excellently. Because of this it is pretty safe to project Maclin as ready to go this season.

    • xlGmanlx

      I think it was addition by subtraction. By having 4 legit WR’s that have a chance to beat man-press consistently beats the “threat” of the deep ball. Another year of the TE’s getting a bigger role and Shady getting his will ensure the middle of the field/box are occupied by 7/8. Being able to throw a WR screen to any side and get willing blockers opens up more of the middle of the O, etc. This is Kelly 101.

    • Neil

      One thing, being one of the best WRs in eagles history, comparing 2014 eagles to 1980 eagles, etc., doesn’t mean a whole lot when passing numbers are becoming ridiculous everywhere in the league.

  • Cafone

    It seems like we really have a whole lot of optimism and confidence riding on the twice torn ACL in Jeremy Maclin’s right knee. Because without Maclin, what do we really have at wide receiver? Riley Cooper, our former #4 as our #1 receiver? A couple of rookies? A failed reject from the Buccaneers who most people had pretty much forgotten about a few months ago?

    The ironic thing is that a year ago, Maclin was more criticized around these parts than Jackson. Have we all forgotten “Self-taclin’ Maclin”, the receiver who supposedly has no heart? I never bought into that BS, but how many of you that lambasted Maclin in the past are now considering him the ace of the Eagles “new and improved” receiving corps?

    • IAteLunchToday

      Zzz…

    • Insomniac

      I just refuse to be optimistic about our WR core since there’s too many question marks. Matthews can talk big but he hasn’t done anything yet. Sure Huff knows Chip..but what could he adjust to the NFL level? Cooper is a one year wonder right now. Maclin? We talking about self-tackling?

      • Cafone

        I won’t refuse to be optimistic, but I think cautious optimism is the way to go.

    • ICDogg

      I think that’s fair, other than characterizing Benn as a “failed reject”. He’s a guy who could help us if he manages to stay healthy. That’s a big if.

    • A_T_G

      From what I have read, the “twice torn” part isn’t reason for concern. The first tear was replaced with one from a cadaver, which is never done to athletes any more because… they re-tear. Beyond that, the surgery he had last fall isn’t any more risky when it is the second fix than when it is the first.

  • bubqr

    If I put roster and players’ quality aside, there’s one thing many fans are guilty of right now: not giving enough importance to age and injury.
    What if our old OL start crumbling? Peters, Herremans, Mathis, Demeco Ryans, Trent Cole, are key players whose production could decline dramatically. The OL is the key to our offense, and who can bring consistent pressure other than Trent Cole?
    Moreover, all of our key guys remained healthy the whole season, but expecting the same thing next year, especially from our best player Shady, is way too optimistic (despite the magic smoothies).
    I do think we have improved as a team, but if you take into consideration:
    – Probably more injuries
    – Probably not a repeat of Foles and/or Shady’s season
    – Age issues at some key positions (even if probably offset by improvement from our younger players)
    – Probably a tougher schedule
    I am not confident we will perform better than last year

    • xlGmanlx

      That is why Kelly is so strong in his sports science. If you aren’t even working with a clean diet, total commitment professionals, it is hard to even see where to correct things. Plus, the level of fitness they have lessens their chance of injury due to fatigue, which in my experience is when the “freak” accidents happen. It is hard not to get pumped thinking about how the front office, coaching staff, talent, commitment is building around this place. Who knows what the season ends with, but I just get the feeling, no matter what, it will always be better than the year before.

      • Cafone

        We did have two receivers go down with torn ACLs in around a week last year in camp. And Vick’s commitment to the program didn’t help his hamstring. Every little bit helps, but sports science isn’t a magic panacea

    • Media Mike

      “more” injuries, not likely. Injuries at more position groups, totally a chance.

      • bubqr

        From a statistical perspective, more injuries is definitely likely. We were the second healthiest team in the league (after KC), and regression to the mean is to be expected unless you believe the smoothies will keep us up there.

    • ICDogg

      In general, I agree that there is risk at some position groups. But there are very few good teams who are not getting “too old” somewhere.

      • Nicodemus_09

        Even in coaching. I think even the Pyramids are a bit freaked out by Tom Coughlin at this point….

  • austinfan

    I have to agree with Tommy, mostly because I wanted to get rid of DeSean two years ago, I’ve always seen him as a bad fit.

    QB: Foles should improve, although his TD/Int ratio won’t, his completion % should, and he should take less sacks. He has to adjust to a quick decision making offense, and not hold the ball too long.

    RB: McCoy should have fewer touches (or he won’t be starting in 2016), but who will pick up the slack?

    WR: I think DeSean is addition by subtraction, he simply wasn’t a good fit to Chip’s offense (Chip had to scheme to protect him from pressing CBs), and that’s before the character issues. Sure he put up big numbers, so did Cooper in 11 games with Foles – the same people who praise DeSean off his career year in 2013 with Chip write off Cooper as a fluke – maybe it’s the system? Maclin, Matthews and Huff are simply better fits (not better pure talents, but guys who fit their roles better) – you don’t have to protect them from press CBs, they’re big enough to be effective run blockers, and they can be moved around the formation. Chip ain’t a “feed the star” kind of HC, he’s a “make a star” HC, like Shanahan with RBs.

    TE: Ertz is going to break out this year. Casey is interesting, because once healthy Chip was working him into the offense.

    OL: They are aging, but they’ve also had a year with Stoutland, in an offense that lives or dies with OL execution. So they should be improved, but the end is nigh. The key will be the development (or not) of guys like Tobin, Barmiro, Kelly, Vandervelde and Molk.

    DL: They have three talented but very young starting DL, expecting them to improve isn’t much of a reach. Kruger, Hart, Allen, Curry are a nice group of backups. This is one area where you shouldn’t be surpised to see a couple guys emerge as playmakers.

    LB: Ryans is getting a little old, so is Cole, but Cole also made a nice transition from DE to OLB and could be better this year as experience overcomes age temporarily. That would buy a year for Smith to grow into a starter’s role. The big question is who is behind Ryans, Phillips? Acho?

    CB: Williams and Fletcher are capable, Boykin is a great nickel, but having Carroll and Watkins as your “depth” is pretty solid.

    S: Jenkins is a better fit here than in NO, he can do everything but excels at nothing, which makes him a better fit for a team that wants to move him around than one that wants him to fit an assigned (FS, SS, etc) role. Wolff has size and speed and explosiveness, does he have instincts? Allen was an impressive rookie who went downhill until last year, was that a false spring or a return to his rookie promise? Maragos is the wildcard, limited in Seattle behind two all pro starters, but worked his way up to 3rd safety. Reynolds and Johnson are ST bodies until they prove otherwise. Not a group that inspires confidence, but better than last year’s group which inspired fear.

    All in all this is a deeper, more athletic, faster, smarter and tougher team than last year. The most improved unit will be the ST coverage teams, which should be among the league’s best by the end of the season. They showed they can play offense, they have an improving defense, if STs shift from a liability to an asset they’ve taken another step to becoming a legitimate playoff contender.

    • xlGmanlx

      Agree with everything in this post. Kelly’s genius is the simplicity with attention to detail and total commitment. Philly is a place anyone is going to want to come to play. With a good front office, they will probably sign “team friendly” deals to stick around. Hopefully Kelly’s eye for talent extends to coaching positions and he can start his own tree.

      • Ben Hert

        Kelly is the Jiro of the Football World.

    • Neil

      You thought Desean was a bad fit for Reid’s offense?

      I thought he certainly had plenty of weaknesses but at least was allowed to do what he was exceptional at over and over.

      • austinfan

        DeSean’s big games last year came against some piss poor defenses that played zone or off man – and he ate that alive. But he disappeared in the playoffs once again, in fact, other than the two games against Oakland and Minnesota, didn’t do much down the stretch when Foles returned. If you’re building a playoff team, and not merely a team to get to the playoffs, you want your highest paid players to be your best players in those games.

        It’s not that DeSean isn’t talented, it’s that he required Chip to scheme ways to spring him open that were specific to his talent and physical limitations. Maclin, Matthews and Huff won’t require that sort of player specific scheming. Collectively they’ll do everything DeSean did, and the only thing DeSean could do better was run deep, but that is contrary to Chip’s desire to get the ball out quickly (even DeSean needs 4 seconds to get 30 yards downfield because he’s not running in shorts on a track).

        • Neil

          Right, but I was talking about in Reid’s offense and the comment “I wanted to get rid of DeSean two years ago, I’ve always seen him as a bad fit.” That includes Reid’s tenure, right?

          It seems like a lot of what you’re saying about Chip’s offense doesn’t apply to Reid’s, so I was wondering why he was a bad fit for Reid’s. To me, I just didn’t like how in order to use Desean correctly you had to ask the oline to block for four seconds play in and play out, so it was more like I had a philosophical quibble with Reid’s offense as a whole rather than Desean. He still had the same weakness of having to be protected from presses, but Reid seemed happy to deal with that.

  • xlGmanlx

    My ideal situation is that Allen can come in and work his way into the majority of snaps at nose over logan. That would require him to be a 3 down nose, which isn’t exactly easy to do, but having the bigger size, which some wiggle for downs 1&2 could allow Benny to come in on some 3rd’s as part of the end rotations or other creative scheme mixes for Davis. Not that I don’t like logan, but if he can come in an surprise at nose, that would just allow the defense to use a 6-3 300 lbs DL in some fashion to create a mismatch.
    Again, ideal, but just in hearing his responses, the things he picked up that were different about the iggs – schedules ala time management (hurry up program), not letting them take notes. Basically the attention to detail to make sure they have the stuff between the ears to learn an NFL D. Whether he can or cannot supplant Logan at the nose this year is left to be seen, but you heard how Kelly is trying to establish a college like clubhouse, basically being around each other 24/7, is what he liked about them, which goes a long way. Lets hope those comparisons toward JJ are even in the ball park. We won’t have a front office get in the way of that, that appears to be proven.

    • Cafone

      I guess if we can replace last year’s 3rd round pick with this year’s 7th round pick, Chip and Howie’s drafting has really taken a leap forward in just one year.

    • Media Mike

      The better football teams (i.e. ones with QBs who are smarter than the 3 dolts we play in division) can go no huddle and make you keep your base personnel on the field. What will help the Eagles overall D-line play this year is more weight on Logan and the addition of two better scheme fit players in the overall DE group (Krugar and Hart).

    • ICDogg

      Not that I don’t think BA has potential but Logan is a guy I expect to take a step up this year and will be a little bigger and stronger than he was before.

      • xlGmanlx

        Which is why I classified it as ideal, because I hope you are correct as well. If BA is able to take majority of snaps means they found the right person for their vision and that creates some serious depth on the DL. I hope we both end up being right, but either way, I hope he finds a way to contribute as a rookie.

    • mksp

      Logan has put 6 lbs of muscle on over the offseason (per reports). With the year of experience under his belt I think he could be a breakout player for us this year.

      Remember, he already had the length (arms) and intangibles. Getting his body built up was the big challenge.

      • xlGmanlx

        Allen starts off at least 15lbs thicker, not saying I think Logan is a slouch, I’m a fan, just putting a positive scenario out there for discussion.

  • CaliEaglesFan

    I respectfully disagree with your sentiment about Foles’ arm and deep passing. Here is a quote just to add some perspective and I know numbers aren’t everything, but this is still impressive.

    “According to Pro Football Focus No quarterback in the NFL posted completions of 20 yards or longer than Foles, who finished the season with 17.4 percent of his passes traveling that distance.

    What is perhaps most impressive and enlightening about this statistic is the fact that it does not take into account yards after the catch, which means that any production on screen passes or short-to-intermediate routes do not impact average.

    Additionally, Foles’ accuracy on deep passes ranks seventh in the league at 45.5 percent, which is ahead of the likes of Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. He even completed 14 of his 29 touchdowns this season on passes of 20 or more, which ranks behind only Brees and Andy Dalton who are tied with 15.”

    And, as far as Foles’ arm goes I would say its pretty good. He can throw it 50 to 55 yards with ease and could probably push it further. He may not have a cannon like Vick, Stafford, Cutler, but not many do. Let’s not downplay Foles for the sake of trying to justify DeSean’s departure.

    • Cafone

      What are you going to believe, the stats or your eyes? Many of Foles’ long passes were jump balls. Sure, he can chuck long, high passes down the field and even complete them if his receiver wins the jump ball, or he puts it in a spot where only his receiver can adjust and get to it, but he’s not the type of QB that regularly throws perfectly timed long balls into the outstretched hands of a receiver running at full speed.

      Foles does a lot of other things very well though. He doesn’t need to do everything perfectly.

      • ICDogg

        Most of them weren’t really jump balls (though a few of them were), but for the most part I agree with what you’re saying. Foles doesn’t have the arm to make those deep throws without some wobble. And that’s fine, but that does limit the way Desean Jackson can be used.

        • Alistair Middlemiss

          I think Foles has good vision with his deep balls and is willing to wait for routes to develop and read coverage. However he does not rifle the ball and tends to put a lot of air on his deep passes and is not perfectly accurate. He will never be an ideal vertical passer because of this but he will complete plenty and put players in a position to win the ball. I think this is partly why they have gone bigger at WR this offseason to better counter act this.

          • ICDogg

            Yep. Tall QB, tall receivers, is going to be difficult to defend against.

      • CaliEaglesFan

        I do trust my eyes, because I’ve seen him hit both DeSean and Cooper deep in stride last year for 45-55 yard passes. Some of them in perfect stride and others needed a bit of adjustment to the ball, but still were at least put out of reach of the defender.

        And, what QBs regularly hit bombs of 50-60 yards perfectly in stride? you are nuts if you think that happens with any great consistency

        • Cafone

          Well, for example, both McNabb and Vick threw better long balls than Foles. Of course Foles does a lot of things, more important things, better than either McNabb or Vick. Nobody’s perfect, and I think the point Tommy was making was not meant as a criticism of Foles, but to point out that a guy with Jackson’s main skill of outrunning defenders might not be as important to a QB like Foles as it was to a QB like Vick.

          I think this can also probably be seen in the numbers. Jackson performed better when Vick was at QB. And when Foles played in 2012, he seemed to favor Maclin over Jackson where Vick had favored Jackson over Maclin.

          • CaliEaglesFan

            Fair enough. I was tired after pulling an all nighter for a test, so I guess I took it as more of a knock on Foles ability to complete those deep passes instead of the perspective you mentioned and now that I reread it was what Tommy meant. I can definitely agree with that perspective. But, you know who else excels in short and intermediate routes and leaves something to be desired on the deep ball though? Tom Brady.

    • D3FB

      20 yards or farther is a terrible indication of “long ball”. A post route caught at 21 yards isn’t a deep ball. Fitting the ball between the corner and safety to beat cover 2 happens right around the 20 yard mark. The kind of play Tommy is talking about is the DJAX outruns the corner and safety and then throw a bomb to him. Foles has a good arm but he’s not built for that.

      • CaliEaglesFan

        1.) those sorts of deep bombs are rare to connect on like 50 or 60 yards down field. It’s definitely hard to time throws that deep and for the receiver to get open enough.

        2.) 20 yards or more is certainly a good distance and is usually how stats makers determine a passer’s deep completion rate

        3.) he’s not built for that? I just said he’s made 45, 50, 55, yard passes last year in stride to DeSean and Cooper. I’m not saying he’s the best deep passer by any means, but he can certainly do it and be accurate. Can he improve? sure. Is that not a part of his game or something he can do? no.

  • Cafone

    When are we going to sign someone to give Alex Henery some legitimate competition (in the kicking, not the nickname department)?

    • CrackSammich

      It’s not really a fair statement to compare anyone’s numbers to Henery and then say they aren’t good enough to compete. He set the record for accuracy in college. That means he beat the numbers of all of the current NFL starters, even the ones that are better than him. Spear is legitimate competition.

  • Nicodemus_09
  • Mike Flick

    “Dissent can be a very good thing.”

    I disagree.

    • pkeagle

      I agree with your disagreement…….is that good?

      • ICDogg

        Agreeing to be agreeable is not agreeable and disagreeing to be disagreeable is not agreeable either, in fact it is egregious, and we can all agree on that.

        • Mike Flick

          I disagree

          • ICDogg

            Well then, you’re a racist!

  • Nicodemus_09

    Even sans the draftees & free agents (who ABSOLUTELY do make is a better team) I feel we’re a better team JUST by virtue of our vets being a year wiser in their systems. I’m so over the MeSean to the Washington Racial Slurs already. It’s over. It’s done. I trust that Chip knows a SMIDGE more of the inner workings of his team than the fans/press. If he doesn’t, we’re in a world of shit regardless folks.lol As far as I’m concerned, all that’s left to do now is pray, perform whatever your personal good luck ritual you have, hell, splash some lambs blood on the front door, whatever the heck we have to do to have the injury monster pass us by safely in the night so our boys are nice & HEALTHY come September & we can begin our magical run. : )

    • GEAGLE

      You don’t just throw together a bunch of new free agents, play 10 babies and expect that you saw the best it will get from this group. We could have kept the same roster and we would have been better, but we didnt keep the same roster. We made some nice addition and added plenty of depth, which we had none last year….of course our team will improve,

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    What about year 2 Chip Kelly vs. year 1? Can we assume there will.be improvement there, too?

    • eagleyankfan

      Agreed. I think too, a lot of these players already went through Chip’s camp and his system. The players(especially Foles) know the system that much better and can now work on improving within the system instead of just trying to learn the system. They, in return, can mentor the rookies in the system. Last year, there was no mentoring about the system from veterans.
      Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think this team can run with the big dogs but I don’t see a step backwards. I don’t see giants leaps forward either. If they’d simply improve on special teams(which has yet to be seen) this team would indeed be better.

  • ATLeagle

    I agree with Brent’s take on Sproles. I really dont get why anyone is happy with that move. This isnt a win now team, so why bring in a piece that has to be replaced in two years, when the goal is going to be win big. I like how N.O. handled it, where they got rid of the old shifty guy and brought in a young shifty guy. I would much rather have a rookie to learn that spot at this point in the building process.

    • mksp

      Old shifty guy = 5th round pick
      New shifty guy = 1st round pick
      ______

      I actually liked this trade more AFTER the draft. Looks where all the “Sproles-lite” players got drafted:

      DAT: 4th round
      Dri Archer: 3rd round
      Jalen Saunders: 4th round
      Jerrick McKinnon: 3rd round

      We got a more proven guy with a 5th. Played it perfectly.

      • ATLeagle

        I think that after the draft it does feel better, but I cant get over the future problem. I like the 2 receivers, and think they will fit in well with the system. I think Cooks could have also, and there is no way to know yet if he would have been a better choice.

        The later rounds argument still gives me problems. The 4 you listed arent guarantees to stick around the league for a long time, but they might. They have a chance of playing in 4 years, where it feels absolute that Sproles will not be around anymore.

        Maybe his value in the next 2-3 years is better than a project/crap shoot, but he feels like a solution to a problem that this team doesnt have.

        • bill

          This kinda cuts against both arguments here, but I think Huff is Sproles’s replacement/future TAZR (which is the role Sproles was brought in for). So I look at it as they spent a 3rd for the future guy, and a 5th for the stop-gap until future guy is ready.

    • CrackSammich

      Sproles is all upside. If we somehow luck into being a contender, he helps us win now. If we’re still building, then we dump him in two years with very little cap hit.

      • GEAGLE

        Wouldn’t be surprised if our sports science is a little fountain of youth for him..we also won’t lean on him as heavily as the saints did

        • Bob Scatchard

          Also, got to remember in Chip’s style of offense, the spread takes alot of *gang tackleing* out of most hits by the opposing D. I think Sproles could surprise and be around longer than we think.

  • eagleyankfan

    It’s funny to me, the reasons given to not have Vick here were reasons a few of gave last year as to why Vick should not be the starter, yet Vick was supported(largely) in this very forum.

    • ICDogg

      Vick won the QB competition in the preseason. There would have been mutiny on the team had Foles been handed the job after that occurred.

      I think there’s a case to be made also that Foles became better partly by being in that competition. Would he be as good now had they just installed him as the starter from the beginning of preseason?

      • Mike Flick

        I thought the QB transition was really handled well. Vick looked outstanding in preseason.

        Foles threw that pick in the endzone.

        In the regular season, the play was reversed. Foles never threw an interception and Vick regressed.

        • eagleyankfan

          That’s why it’s just stupid to base a decision on your starting QB by 1 throw in pre-season. During the season, the play wasn’t reversed. Vick played as expected (hurt/turnovers) and Foles continued to excel.

          • ICDogg

            The premise of the QB competition was that it was a fresh start for both quarterbacks, that it was not going to be judged on things that happened before Chip got there.

            Vick played better in preseason, no doubt due to his experience, but of course these performances were against vanilla defenses.

            My point is this: if they didn’t want Vick to start last year, they shouldn’t have brought him back at all. They should have brought another veteran in instead.

          • eagleyankfan

            There was never a QB competition. Just because Chip says there was, doesn’t mean there was one. He was just trying to push Vick. He wanted Vick as his starter that’s why no veteran was brought in.

          • D3Center

            Or it could’ve been that there were no veterans of Vick’s talent level on the market. Why get rid of a guy who is extremely talented but flawed in Vick for a subpar veteran talent. Both QBs were great in the preseason but Vick was better that’s why he got the job to start.

          • eagleyankfan

            True. Vick can play some football. I had no problem keeping him.

      • eagleyankfan

        Vick didn’t win anything. We’ve combed those numbers last year and proved both posted very good numbers. Vick started because Chip wanted a veteran. It’s as simple as that. Vick still had all those issues that T-Law posted above and Chip overlooked them and took a chance by starting Vick.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I’m sorry, I’m not even close to being a Vick supporter but as far as that preseason competition went, Vick won. To me though that entitled him to be the game 1 starter. However, I think Vick reverted to his inconsistencies & erratic play once again just after a few games in & in my eyes, should’ve been pulled before the injury in favor of Foles. The injury & Foles play in Vick’s absence made it a conveniently easy decision though for Chip.

          • eagleyankfan

            He won? How? How many snaps did he take with 1st team? How were his numbers? How many snaps did Foles take with 1st team? how were those numbers?
            Vick didn’t revert back to anything. He faced plain vanilla defenses in pre-season. Once the season started, he faced starting defenses and played exactly the way he did the season before.
            I understand that Chip wanted to start a veteran…and that’s ok. He’s was trying to get some sort of continuity which could breed success while trying to shape his team. I get all that. The notion that Vick won by purely outplaying Foles is a farce. Followed by the notion that there people actually believe there was a competition is an even bigger farce….

          • D3FB

            Vick did win the competition last summer. He put up slightly better numbers all throughout camp, he didn’t block Nick away but he did win. I wanted Kelly to go with Foles because Vick had no long term future here, but Vick did outplay Foles and it would have sent a terrible message to play Foles instead of Vick.
            Tommy wrote the following on August 20th of last year right after Vick was announced as the starter:

            “Vick showed terrific skills this summer. He flat out won the job. Vick was calm in the pocket. His first instinct was to throw, not to run. Vick threw the ball as well as I’ve ever seen. He made good decisions. There were checkdowns and aggressive downfield throws. Vick ran twice and looked good, but those runs came within the framework of the offense.”

          • D3Center
          • eagleyankfan

            again — were those numbers with running with 1st teams? vs. what defenses did they face? We can construe stats anyway we like….

          • D3Center

            I think the split was fairly equal in terms of time spent against the other teams first defense and second defense if I remember right.

          • eagleyankfan

            if we’re going by those numbers — Jackson “flat out” dominated Wilson. Romo had a 131 rating. Shouldn’t of he won the SB?

          • D3FB

            You are the only one who thinks it was a rigged competition. Shouldn’t the burden of evidence be on you to show that the number of snaps with the first team offense were different?

          • eagleyankfan

            T-Law has his opinion and probably sees a ton more than I do. The numbers do not support “flat out”. Again though, T-Law sees things I don’t see(maybe Vick’s body language or posture?). After Vick went down, T-Law also wrote a piece about researching the next draft class for QB’s. Clearly, he didn’t think Foles was the answer at the time. Maybe T-Law didn’t like Foles at all? (I’m saying he did or didn’t, but not sure why his first reaction was to go after a qb in the draft)
            Also, along with those good decisions — were against plain defenses. It wasn’t like Foles was 4-15 passes with 3 ints. Foles had 1 in very limited playing time.
            The part that bugged me the most was that team was not a SB team. We knew what we had in Vick. We didn’t know what we had in Foles. It wasn’t like Foles was this terrible QB who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Why not start the season with Foles and see what he can do.
            IMHO — Chip didn’t treat Vick or DJ properly. Maybe mismanaged their expectations on where they stood? Don’t know. But Vick did not flat out beat Foles.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Forget looking at stats alone. To me (a data junkie) stats only tell part of the whole story. The eye test showed that Vick won. And I’m someone that has never been a Vick guy & personally didn’t see Vick as the long term answer anyway. But in the context of what we’re discussing (preseason head to head competition), Vick won. I didn’t want him to. I wanted the best man to win. In the preseason that was Vick. In the games that mattered, that was Foles.

        • A Roy

          Vick also won the competition by showing leadership during the Riley Cooper debacle. After he was a team player there (and for years prior), CK would have lost this team early by starting Foles, regardless of stats.

  • Mike Flick

    Here is another thing I was thinking about improvements. We did not play well against Dallas. It seemed like they had our number. In two games Foles was like 2TDs and less than 300 yds.

    Meanwhile, the Saints had 40 1st downs against them.

    I think Chip is taking the NO blueprint and that is the reason he picked up Sproles. It was the quick hitting offense that gave them fits more than the deep passing game.

    Since Desean was ineffective against their press coverage, we went with guys who can beat man coverage. At least that is the theory. Can Maclin, Matthews and Sproles do a better job than Desean, Avant and Brown?

    • ICDogg

      I think the Eagles sold out on stopping Jimmy Graham, and it was a pick-your-poison thing where in order to do that they were ineffective vs the run.

      It pointed up where they needed to get stouter, but in general the Eagles were pretty good vs the run last year.

      • pkeagle

        I think Mike was refering to the Dallas D giving up 40 first downs not us. I admit it did feel like that at times during the playoff game though.

        • Mike Flick

          Right I was talking about our offense.

        • ICDogg

          oops. sorry about that

    • Anders

      Thank god Dallas no longer has Hatcher, he seemed to single handly blow up the zone read, that was also the reason I feared they would get Donald.

    • CrackSammich

      You can hardly count that first Dallas game for Foles. He only played half and was probably concussed a lot earlier in the game than he’ll ever admit to.

      • GEAGLE

        And then brought down “the rains of castamere” onto the black hole, the next time he touched the field…what FOles did to Oakland was the game of thrones equivalent to the red wedding lol

      • Mike Flick

        What about the 2nd game? Our offense was not very good either.

  • GEAGLE

    Eagles were 5th in the league defending the run up the middle…in other words, kiss Bennie Logan’s, Jenny Craig NTs Ass!!!

    • ICDogg

      I think it was pretty remarkable considering how young the D-line was how strong they were in doing that; but the counter to that is that they were so easy to pass against at times that teams did not really need to keep pounding in the run game.

      • GEAGLE

        They shut the run down with NO safety support…asking them to also shut the pass down with no safeties, is a lil ambitious if you ask me…Jenkins, best safety since Dawkins(tho that may sound a little better than it really is) and a better Wolff, should improve our run defense AND allow our CBs to actually play their game and get up and press…..I’m expecting the best safety play we seen in years.. Elite safety play? Nope, but it’s a start…

        Even more impressive is our defense played so well being so basic…more subpackages this year, should keep offenses a little more off balance…

        What eats at me from the saints loss, is the left side of Ced and Barwin got trampled on. That can never happen again!!! Although I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Barwin to play the run when the entire game was riding on his is ability to shut down Graham…but with Graham out of the game, the left side shouldn’t have gotten ran on like that…

        ERTZY, 4 TDs last 6 games of the season

  • Engwrite

    At the key qb position, Foles won 9 and lost 3 in 2013 and set all time records, ie., best month ever. It is reasonable to expect that he will get better in the equivalent of his second full season. But who knows? The OL was intact and McCoy and Jackson had career years. With the expected maturation of Johnson and Ertz and Maclin+Sproles replacing Jackson, the offense–barring injuries–shouldn’t suffer a decline and might improve in Kelly’s 2nd year.
    On Defense, Safety and Corner play should be better due to added personnel (Jenkins rather than Chung, new back-up corners, a healthy Wolff, and hopefully a resurgent Allen).
    Having said that, any receiving corps with DeSean Jackson is much better than without him. The Eagles botched their move. Had they been smarter at the meetings when they tried to trade him, they could have kept him and traded him NOW to a needy team, eg., Cleveland.
    The Eagles aren’t good enough to win the SB this year and yet, they might, if the once again dodge injuries and they get as lucky as the Giants.

    • GEAGLE

      No…his contract was untradeable..we had zero leverage.

      • ICDogg

        Yep… that contract was really never meant to be more than a 2 year deal. It was thought that following 2 years they would let him go or re-sign him to a new deal, but the out years of his “5 year” contract were written for salary cap flexibility.

        Because Jackson had a career year, there was some hope they might get something for him, but in the end that contract was something most teams could not or would not take on.

        • Anders

          Eagles fans forget that Revis aka best CB in the NFL was cut because he didnt fit and salary.

          • Engwrite

            Maybe his contract was indeed ‘untradable.’ But Revis was set to make $16 million as part of a really crappy team while Jackson was scheduled at something like 10 in a playoff team.
            I think that today a team like Cleveland would consider a trade for Jackson: (a) they have the picks, (b) they have the cap and (c) they might lose Josh Gordon for a year.
            Whatever the issues with Jackson (There were no real issues other than a decision to better use their cap room) he could very well be a better choice than Gordon, who is facing a 2nd suspension.
            Pair Jackson with Manziel and you would have a lot of excitement, if not on the field, in the ticket office for sure.
            In any case, I stand by my statement: the Eagles botched it. They usually don’t, but this time they did.

          • Anders

            Jackson was set to get 12 mill, he didnt fit what Kelly wants and nobody wanted to use a pick on Jackson and have to deal with him wanting a new contract.

            There is a reason Redskins was really the only team to offer him a contract.

          • Engwrite

            Enough already. But, for the record, he was slated to make $10.25 million, of which $250,000 was guaranteed.

          • Neil

            I think the eagles botched it by giving him that contract, not by being unable to trade something that was untradeable. You could say the eagles botched it if they had the deal lined up with Cleveland and then Howie insulted Ray Farmer’s mother.

          • Anders

            The contract was meant to be a 2 year contract and then re structure it, you never make a contract so it is easy to trade (if a contract is tradeble, it means the player aint making top money)

          • cliff henny

            also, it’s not NHL, there’s only about 10 trades a year, Howie just seems to be the most active GM with trades. why would eagles even think about the trade aspects of a contract when writing it, the trading team generally gets hosed for starters.

          • Neil

            Yeah, when I say botch I just mean Jackson wasn’t worth that money. In hidnsight, I would have preferred he be allowed to hit the market if he wouldn’t have budged from what we gave him. I anticipate he would have come back down to earth and the eagles would have still retained him, and if somebody gave him the contract the eagles did oh well.

          • GEAGLE

            If they botched anything, it’s not reworking the contract as soon as he switched agents, for seeing that we would go down this path…but that reworked contract probably wouldn’t be any more TRADEable

          • D3FB

            It wouldn’t have been because it would likely have meant a large signing bonus which would have meant a large cap hit for trading him or large annual guaranteed numbers which would have been just as hard to trade.

    • D3Center

      I would agree that any receiving corps with Desean Jackson is better but only on paper. If Chip says he wasn’t a great fit for his offense than I am inclined to believe him because Chip knows more about what works in his offense than any of us. And I mean Chip’s ideal offense not the one he ran with Jackson last year.

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah,,Chip is such a competitor, I don’t think he does anything unless he thinks it improves us…and I wouldn’t bet against Chip being right

  • Mike Roman

    I’m late to this party so I apologize if I say something that’s already been discussed. I think the team is clearly better than last year and here is why:

    Team is in year #2 of Kelly
    Defense in year #2 of Davis
    Jenkins > Chung
    Carroll & Watkins > Marsh & Carmichael
    Addition of Smith upgrades both OLB spots
    Ertz, Celek, Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Huff, Sproles > Jackson, Cooper, Celek, Ertz

    • Anders

      ad that Cox looked better down the stretch, Logan > Sopoaga and Kendricks played all pro type play at ILB down the stretch.

      Also healthy Wolff and Allen in 2nd year (he looked like a player you can live with instead of one you hope does not have to do anything) should also help.

      My biggest fear is injury to either McCoy or a several OLs (see end of 2012 for what happens then)

      • GEAGLE

        Think we can afford two OL going down..but if any team loses 4, it’s retry much OVER… Confident we can survive losing two starting OL

      • Mike Roman

        Yes, and everything you said too. I am probably as excited for the 2014 Eagles as I’ve been since going into 2002. We’re a young team on the rise and t just feels like they’re building something special. Not to mention MURDERLEG!

        • Anders

          I remember been super hyped for 2006 and 2008. I wasnt really a fan back in 2002

          • GEAGLE

            There was no better year of My eagles fandom than the T.O year… I was still In college, and philly was just insane that year…people would walk down the streets and just start singing or flapping imaginary wings at cars! and it would be like a Tuesday night in October… The T.O Super Bowl year was by far the best time I ever had with this team, and it’s started opening up the preseason with the bomb to T.O.. From that point, philly was the funniest place to be in the country

  • cliff henny

    how arent the Eagles much better? the 2 main issues Eagles had:
    1. consistently beating M2M single high safety
    2. getting off field on 3rd and long
    .
    let’s not look at names for names sake cause almost every team upgrades on paper, but what they bring and issues of ’13 Eagles. i liked Jax, F-U-N to watch, but if teams could play M2M single high and get away with it, was an issue for offense, as a whole (not solely blaming Jax). and i’m sure this absolutely drove Kelly nuts. bring in Mac, Matthews, Huff, and Sproles all can or are being sold as M2M beaters, plus Cooper and Ertz. yes, Eagles lost 75% of their over top plays, that’s 1 or 2 a game, but good luck playing M2M this year. the regular routes Jax ran that got 20+ gash yardage, Mac can do most of that, not all, most and scheme will get him open. so, teams now cant load box and go man, cant play zone, WR screne will also be much bigger weapon >losing Jax.
    .
    defense, Jenkins over Chung, Wolff was pushing Allen by mid season, think it’s matter of time till till he’s starter. CBs couldnt play tight enough coverage like they needed to with last year’s safeties. then bring in Smith. the whole concept behind Kelly/Davis’ defense is to be hybrid, dont know where/which defender is coming and wasnt a whole lot of that in ’13. in ’14, can go 4-2-5, 3-3-5 or maybe dime (with additions of Carroll and Wadkins) with Smith now being able to spot Ryans, allow Cole to go D-end, also allow Kendricks and Barwin to blitz since Smith is certainly not a liability in coverage. the personel groupings seem endless. can easily see Eagles 3rd down defense improving greatly. Base, hope it’s same, was pretty surprised how well it played last year.
    .
    all this is all well and good, it does all come back to Foles. if he is takes next step, this is going to be a tough team to beat. think 1 more off-season, and all bets are off

    • Dominik

      “the whole concept behind Kelly/Davis’ defense is to be hybrid, dont know where/which defender is coming and wasnt a whole lot of that in ’13.”

      Brings me to the question: has any X and O’s guru user here followed the Steelers closely? LeBeau is obviously the role model for Billy D. LeBeau is known for the Zone Blitz, which sounds a lot like what the Eagles want to do.

      Now: how often did the Steelers OLB rush the passer? How often do they cover and allow a MLB, Safety or CB blitz? Did the Steelers CB also played a lot of press?

      I wrote this in the past sense since the Steelers D seems out of their prime at the moment. Of course it’s possible that the principles are still the same.

      • GEAGLE

        While Lambeu has a big influence on Billy D, he didn’t completely mimick that defense when he went to Arizona and became DC… Now I’m not sure if the HC told him what defense to run, but it wasn’t the steelers defense
        ..
        Think Oregons defense is a good indication of what we will be..used penty of 3-4 steelers, but also incorporated other fronts.
        ..
        DFENSE is heavily influenced by subpackages these days, so no matter what your base is, you usually use drastically different Concepts when you get into 3rd down…so there really isn’t such a thing as a pure 3-4 anymore…half those 3-4 teams go into 4man lines and stop two gapping on 3rd

      • Anders

        When the Steelers had Harrison and Woodley in their prime, both rushed around 60-70% of the time and dropped back the rest.
        The Steelers played a lot of cover 1/3 like the Eagles wants to do with Polumalu often playing near the LOS and often blitzing. The CBs didnt blitz much, but was also least important part of that defense.
        Their ILBs blitzed a lot (tho Jim Johnson was the first to use double A gap blitz on a regular basis that we used a ton last year)

        • GEAGLE

          Love it when Billy sends Mykal and Meco shooting the A gap…often complimented with two our our DL twisting or stunting… We destroyed the bears offense with our blitz packages. They were so lost, they had Forte trying to block Cole and getting Ran over…what a great night that bears game was(and I usually hate night games)

          • Anders

            The Bears game and for most part the Cardinals game is what potential this team has, just need to play like that more consistently

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah, prob the best two examples of games for sure..
            ..
            Felt like early In the year we were just building, and the stretch from cardinals to Dallas was more indicative of what we had

  • GEAGLE

    Just look at how much harder it will be to make our roster than it was last year…
    ..
    The only way we aren’t improved is if none of our promising young players improve…cox, Ced, Logan, Kruger, Kendrick,Wolff, Ertz, Boykin, FOles, Lane, Kelce
    .
    And if none of our young players improve, the entire coaching staff should be fired.. So unless you think this coaching staff should be fired, you have to he Brain dead to think we aren’t improved…

    You don’t shun free agency and commit to building thru the draft unless you believe player development is a major strength for you…considering 90% of andys players reached another level this year, and we made the playoffs being so young, you have to be a fool to think our young players will just be the same OL players you saw last year

  • GEAGLE

    I can’t think of how our NT typically line up? Anyone remember off top of their head? I remember it’s the opposite of what Wisconsin did with Beau???if Beau was shadng on the A side, then we stick ours on B(or vice versa)….anyone remember how we line up our NT?

    • mtn_green
      • GEAGLE

        Thank u sir

    • Tumtum

      The day walker was saying their first responsibility is front side a . Not that it answers you question.

      • GEAGLE

        Beau Allen talked about it in his interview from rookie camp, I just can’t remember which is how we line up, and which is how Wisconsin lined up their nose…

      • GEAGLE

        Beau Allen talked about it in his interview from rookie camp, I just can’t remember which is how we line up, and which is how Wisconsin lined up their nose…but I think you are right about front side A, just not positive so I don’t need someone quoting this post two months later..lol thanks

        • Tumtum

          Who is this Beau Allen. Was he felled by the rookie 7th rd NT hence forth known as Day Walker?

  • GEAGLE

    In my dream world, Kelly has Barkly and Sanchez looking amazing in the preseason….with word of our world class backup QB battle spreading to far away lands…then we sit both, Folesy the walking Demi god stays healthy, and we can flip Barkley next year for a 3rd, Bills deliver a 3rd…and we will go into a Chip Kelly draft, stocked with a million picks,and not piss them away the way Andy did…we keep dirty Sanchez as a backup, draft another late round Logan Thomas type talent, to develop and then flip…basically. Dust off the AJ Feeley robbery playbook

  • GEAGLE

    Arent we into offseason program already? How is it that Cole is off hunting in bumbleFock god knows where? But god forbid by beloved Cary Williams wants to redecorate lol

    • D3FB

      OTAs don’t start til next Tuesday. That’s what Cary was skipping.

      • GEAGLE

        Gotcha

  • Mark F

    “The backup LOLB last year was Casey Matthews. That meant the coaches stuck with Connor Barwin as much as humanly possible.”

    LOL, poor Casey…

    • GEAGLE

      Poor Barwin… We would have been so bad if it weren’t for how awesome he was at being the glue guy for our defense

  • Vick or Nick

    http://eaglesrewind.com/2014/05/06/examining-the-wr-prospect-tiers/

    I thought this article by Brent was very well written. If you like stats and probabilities, he does a really good job.

    But saying the team is worse now than last year??

    I got two words.

    Patrick Chung.

    The fact that he is no longer on the roster makes the Eagles 78492738493271 times better.

  • GEAGLE

    Howie raved about how much better we are now, than when Chip got here, in his after the draft press conference…

    Don’t believe Chip does anything that doesn’t improve our team

    Sorry Brent, not buying it

  • Tumtum

    Woooooow. I just cruised over to TATE for probably the first time in a couple years (I was hitting the 411 daily before finding Iggles a little over a year ago but that doesn’t count).

    That place is dead to me. When I stopped participating there was pretty much no activity going on there. Not sure how active it is now but let me tell ya…. bottom of the barrel.

    So sad.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I don’t see at all how you can’t say that the overall roster isn’t better. The defense is better, deeper and provides not only insurance but heightened competition. On offense, I look at it as we traded down one position a couple of notches, in favor of making multiple positions stronger.

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  • evil_INDEED

    I actually feel better about the Desean situation now after reading this. Hadn’t realized how little damage Desean did downfield with Foles.

  • Mark Schmidt

    DJax was a great fit for Reid’s team several years ago. He is a great and talented player, but he is NOT right for the current Eagles team. The new players will be a real improvement – the kicker alone would be a big improvement.
    Imagine you are a coach trying to defend against the 2014 Eagles O…a bitch, huh?

  • Pholdid

    Because we lost Jackson and didn’t really do anything on defense and reached badly for Marchs Smith I say we finish 3rd in the divison with a record of 6-10

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