Looking Good

Posted: August 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 90 Comments »

The Eagles play their preseason opener on Thursday evening. There have been two weeks of Training Camp practices to get the team ready for this. Let’s talk about where the team sits as of now.

For the sake of perspective, let’s first look back to last year. Sam Bradford was having a terrific camp and looked like he would be a solid starting QB. Carson Wentz was showing the talent that got him drafted high, but also making rookie mistakes. The CBs were less than ideal. The receivers were a mess. Reuben Randle was a projected starter at that point. No one had any idea Nigel Bradham would turn out to be a good player. There were unproven rookie backups at key positions: Blake Countess at S, Joe Walker at MLB, Jalen Mills at CB, and Big V and Issac Seumalo on the OL.

A year later things are looking pretty good, as I wrote for PE.com.

Things are far from perfect, but the overall picture looks pretty good, especially if you focus on the development of Carson Wentz. He’s no longer a rookie and has taken his game to the next level. This year it isn’t the veteran Bradford having the strong camp showing, it is Wentz. And he’s making some throws that would make Bradford jealous.

Of course, it helps a lot that the Eagles actually have…good WRs. The hottest topic right now is whether the Eagles should trade Jordan Matthews. A year ago that would have been completely absurd. The problem now is finding a way to keep all the young talent the team has built up at that position. It is crazy to see a position go from so weak to (seemingly) so good so fast.

Obviously we still need to see the receivers in game action to completely feel safe about the group.

*****

The media peppered Doug Pederson with Alshon Jeffery questions today. Is he healthy? Why isn’t he practicing? Will he play Thursday? Was he on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza?

They ask because they want to know. And also need quotes for stories.

My take…Jeffery is going to be a critical player for the Eagles this year. Pederson has seen enough of him this spring and summer that he’s comfortable with what AJ can do. Jeffery did have a shoulder injury that has healed, but there is no reason to risk getting him hurt by playing him right now. There is plenty of time left before the season opener. Don’t get Jeffery hurt in meaningless football.

Risk vs reward.

*****

Some practice tidbits from Wednesday.

_


  • CrackSammich

    Posted last thread, but really only reposting to lay down a first post before someone else, lets pretend he’s for real– how much does Agholor cost us to keep next year?

    • D3FB

      He’s under contract through the end of 2018 season. He cost 2.9 mil in cap space next year. You can save 2.4 mil by cutting him.

      If he does well this year we can also exercise the 5th year option in his contract.

      TLDR: He’s still super cost controlled

      • Guy Media

        And because he wasn’t a top 10 draft pick, that 5th year option would be well below market if was worth of keeping.

        • D3FB

          It’s about 9 mil

    • Sean Stott

      Please relax. The dude averages barely 2 catches per game.

      • CrackSammich

        You’re just mad I was first.

        • sonofdman

          LOL. Nicely done.

        • Sean Stott

          You’re not wrong

    • NegarApe

      He doesn’t cost YOU anything since you don’t pay the bills.

  • ChoTime

    I must have missed the memo when WRs became a position of strength.

    When you have the worst WRs in the league and you add one good player on a one-year deal, I’m not sure that adds up to mission accomplished quite yet.

    • CrackSammich

      Matthews is and was an above average WR2-3. If rumors are true, Agholor might also be an above average WR2-3, and Torrey has at least in the past been a competent 2. None of those guys should be shouldering the weight of the team, but signing Jeffrey makes it so they don’t have to.

      And when talking about the back of the roster, we we’re dragging the bottom of the barrel looking for anyone that could catch a fucking football. Now you’ve got 3-4 guys that could all actually make the roster.

      Yeah, last year sucked. This isn’t last year.

    • D3FB

      Paul Turner played 154 snaps last season.

      Paul Turner is now AT BEST the 9th best WR on this team. And I think you could argue he’s 11th.

      There’s a difference between the unit being legitimately deep and a position of strength and thinking they are the Greatest Show on Turf 2.0.

      Nobody is doing the latter.

      • ChoTime

        Er… it’s nice, I guess, that we don’t have to throw out camp bodies in NFL games, but I still don’t see how having at best one above-average starter for the squad can add up to good.

        • D3FB

          Not 4 all-pros = garbage

          Ok.

          The top passing offense in 2016 was

          -Brandin Cooks
          -A non first round WR
          -Willie Snead who got cut by 2 teams and had 8 starts and 3 TDs going into last year
          – Brandon Coleman
          -Something called Tommylee Lewis

          Let’s add that up real quick:
          That would be exactly 1 above average WR.

          Must’ve turned out really really bad.

          • Insomniac

            But the QB makes all of the difference. Wentz is nowhere near the level of Brees yet.

          • ChoTime
          • Ark87

            You uhh, left out Drew Brees and Sean Peyton, who annually do that with a bunch of scrubs and how that is an extreme outlier. Wait do we have Drew Brees and Sean Peyton now?

          • bill

            The point being, the WRs are plenty good enough now to be a great passing team. There are certainly other issues on this team, and the long-term issue is a legitimate question, but WR is definitely not anywhere close to a need for this year. And furthermore, that WR is generally an overrated position regarding how much star players impact being good enough to win it all.

            I think people get caught up in having a *perfect* roster, as opposed to good enough.

          • Ark87

            According to what? Training camp? Against our corners? Last anyone checked Smith was as bad as Agholor. Agholor is playing hard now, but is he really mentally tough enough to get killed over the middle and go out and do it again? And then a bunch of guys with potential. Which incidentally is what we had last year at this time, young potential. The only proven commodity we have behind Alshon, we are determined to trade.

            This rant is brought to you by soft tissue. Soft tissue: when your star feels that Hammy tight, you’re going to need to get yourself some soft tissues* tm

          • Guy Media

            “Last anyone checked Smith was as bad as Agholor.”

            I’d be very wary of using Smith’s lack of production in San Fran too harshly against him. Smith player with zero talent at the QB position. Gabbert is horrible and Kaep shouldn’t even be playing QB anymore, even if signed by a new team.

            Smith is still younger than an over the hill guy people are overrating like Brandon Marshall or a guy who put up pure garbage stats like Pryor, so I’m thinking Smith is about a 50 catch guy here.

          • A_T_G

            We have better!

          • ChoTime

            Let’s back up, my friend. I was specifically responding to the quotes from the article:

            “Of course, it helps a lot that the Eagles actually have…good WRs…It is crazy to see a position go from so weak to (seemingly) so good so fast.”

            That is irrational optimism, and as you know, it’s my sacred duty to stamp out any such unfounded happy feelings. Even from Tommy, whose articles I’ve been reading since around 2005!

            Again, we have one proven good player (AJ) who has injury and character concerns, one proven decent player (JM) who has iffy hands, and a collection of other guys with “potential.” That could add up to an excellent squad indeed, or something a little better than last year. I don’t think anyone knows which yet.

            And come on, any offense Tom Brady plays on is going to look good. If Wentz develops the ability to make lemonade out of lemons, we’ll be in a good position regardless.

          • Mac

            How about if we agree it’s moved from a position of extreme weakness, to a position of measured optimism that it may be average.

          • ChoTime

            I can get behind that but I don’t want to commit to too much.

          • eaglefansocal-go Joe D

            Negadelphian much! Our wide receivers are way better than last year, everyone but you can see that I think. I can agree with you that a realist would have to wait a little while to see how much better.

          • ChoTime

            Where did I say there weren’t better than last year?

          • teltschikfakeout88

            #coldhardfacts…I want to argue with your analysis but can’t seem too as your facts make too much sense right now…

        • Guy Media

          Isn’t the “average” starter the 32.5th best WR in the NFL? So if Alshon is between 8th and 15th or so and Smith is in the lower 50s, and (assuming he’s still here) Matthews is somewhere in the 70s……..I can’t find this group worth my gripe time vs. some of my other pet projects on this team.

          • ChoTime

            Yeah, I mean this situation doesn’t descend to the level of Kenjon Barner or having a running QB, I can see that. And actually I wasn’t even complaining about WRs, just politely disagreeing with Tommy’s assertion that they were _good_.

            IMO, the two areas of main concern are CB and QB. Whether Wentz becomes one of the best QBs in the league or not is what will eventually make or break this regime.

          • Guy Media

            What’s funny with CB is that I’m already expecting it to be bad because they could only address so many position groups at once, so we’ll see how things continue to evolve there as we enter 2018 with a healthy Jones at CB.

            And, I agree, Wentz really is everything.

      • Guy Media

        “Paul Turner is now AT BEST the 9th best WR on this team. And I think you could argue he’s 11th.”

        I think you’re correct, but this statement feels like a blaspheme of the highest order.

    • eagleyankfan

      From a fantasy perspective – AJ has potential to be a top 5 wr in the league. Elite status, not just good(and I rarely throw around elite word). However, that’s a couple years removed AND it’s the 1 year deal. Love that he’s here, but wish it was longer ( only 27 and injury free of course). Smith seems to be rejuvenated. The depth looks better – but way unproven. Long road between camp and game day…

    • or____

      You’re like “All-Negative-All-July-Cliff” over on Kempski’s blog. Only, that’s a satire act.

      Yes, this is me judging your fanhood. Telling you that you need to be less pessimistic. (somewhat sarcastic)

      • ChoTime

        I got it, man. The lines are drawn in the sand. I look forward to a season of bickering and carping and me saying negative, hurtful things about the team and you dissing me for it.

        • or____

          Deal.

          Cheers brother – I’ll buy you a beer after the superbowl parade on Broad St. Promise.

          • ChoTime

            Okay, if it works out my way and we only win 10 games or something, I’ll make sure to talk you off the bridge with promises of your favorite IPA.

          • or____

            Deal.

    • BobSmith77

      It is a position of strength and should be given the amount of money & draft picks the Eagles spent on it this offseason.

      If Jeffrey and Matthews miss their share of time with injuries, it won’t be but you can say the same for any other NFL team if they lose 2 of their top 3 WRs.

    • BobSmith77

      Where I will agree with you is on Agholor. He has flat out SUCKED his first 2 years and last year he didn’t have the high ankle sprain/blaming Kelly’s offensive scheme.

      All of a sudden it seems like it is just a replacement for Matthews in the slot who might even be better this year. Strikes me as some serious overhype.

      • Guy Media

        Or the GM asking the coaching staff to beachhead the impending Matthews trade.

  • Guy Media

    “The hottest topic right now is whether the Eagles should trade Jordan Matthews. A year ago that would have been completely absurd.”

    Matthews isn’t being discussed as a possible trade away guy because of anybody else in the WR group, the talk is based on the reality of his impending free agency, that wasn’t a problem in 2016.

    • Ark87

      For me it comes down to compensation. Right now he is a proven commodity. The only one on the team besides Alshon. We are depending on a breakout season from Agholor, and depending on Smith’s career trajectory to have a dramatic reversal. The short story is if you keep Matthews, he’s an insurance policy, because no one here is particularly durable.

      Basically Having Matthews as an insurance policy is worth something to me. If an injury happens or if Agholor reverts back to the guy we know after the first big hit he takes, we’ll want Matthews this year. And come next year, if none of the young guys pan out, and either Smith or Agholor isn’t any good, having Matthews around as an option to pay is worth something.

      I think my threshold is maybe a conditional pick, starting at a 4 and escalating to 3? Maybe a 4 flat? 5 and under just doesn’t do it for me.

      What do you think we can get for him, I have no feel for it.

      • Guy Media

        Baltimore reporters saying “3rd rounder” has been panned by the local guys (it burst my bubble badly!), so who knows. As I’m a firm believer us signing more guys in 2018 (negating any potential comp pick for Matthews) and us not being a title contender; I’d rather cash him in now.

        • Ark87

          I see what you’re saying about not being a contender and it definitely makes sense. I want the best team possible this year anyway. I want to know if Wentz is the real deal. I want to know Doug isn’t a chump. Managing the team like we aren’t contending this year is a built in excuse for failure. “Well everything was fine until Alshon struggled with a hammy for 8 weeks”- no no. Don’t pull a single punch, redline this damn thing and lets see what we have. Build from there. Just an overall philosophy for this year for me, I know JMatt doesn’t make or break that concept really, but I’m all in this year. I want to know what we have.

      • BobSmith77

        If they can get Fuller straight up from the Bears or even a 3rd rounder, I would trade him.

        Don’t see either being a realistic including why the Bears would trade Fuller for anything other than a decent draft pick next year.

  • A_T_G
    • RogerPodacter

      personally, i think it looks a little odd when you can’t see the beak of the eagle. are they trying to imply that the players face fills that role? like some sort of “the player is the face of the eagles/team/franchise” bs? nah, no thanks.
      just give me the white eagle on kelly green, or green on white.

    • Bert’s Bells

      That’s turrbull.

    • Sean Stott

      looks like hot garbage

    • Guy Media

      Needs to be Kelly Green or it needs to be gone!

    • BobSmith77

      There are a few I really lik but the Eagles one:

      https://media.giphy.com/media/r621UVEkWgkve/giphy.gif

  • P_P_K

    From BGN: “Darren Sproles almost threw a touchdown pass in 11-on-11. The Eagles have worked on this play during install where Sproles takes the toss and then throws it down field. Sproles had Trey Burton wide open but the ball was thrown a little too far in front. He was frustrated with himself after the play.”

    It’s going to be fun when this play is dialed up in a real game. Um, as long as it’s actually a completed pass.

    • or____

      It was completed earlier in camp – I remember them talking about it.

  • scratcherk

    Hard not to be a Jameis fan after watching Hard Knocks.

    • Guy Media

      Except for the whole rape and additional crime spree he committed with the Crimanoles……

      He really should be in jail.

  • RC5000
  • NegarApe

    Time will tell! Blount won’t do shit here, there was a good reason Jeffrey was let go by CHI despite them drafting a QB high and signing one, they think he can’t play, is hurt, and on PEDs. The CBs are really bad. Still no pass rush.

  • Nailed It!

    Hard to watch Hard Knocks and not be unbelievably pissed at Chip for getting rid of DJax. Guy could have been the best receiver ever in Philly. And he came off so likeable on last nights show. It’s a damn shame.

    • Tumtum

      Haven’t started it yet. Can’t wait!

    • Dragon_Eagle

      Hard not be unbelievably pissed at Chip.

      Fixed it.

  • Someguy77

    Brady is getting tons of hype including getting a ’99’ rating in Madden.

    Didn’t realize Vinatieri was still the PK for the Colts. This is his 22nd year in the NFL and he’ll be 45 in Dec.

    That will tie him the 5th longest career in the NFL with ex-Eagles Jeff Feagles.

    1st – Blanda (26 seasons)
    2nd – M. Anderson (25 seasons)
    t3rd – G. Anderson (23 seasons)
    t3rd – J. Carney (23 seasons)

    • teltschikfakeout88

      while 26 seasons is amazing…how about Jackie Slater playing 20 years as an OL…

      • Someguy77

        Darrell Green at 20 seasons at CB/S is even more impressive.

        Started 2 games at CB in 2002 with the Redskins at 42.

        • Ark87

          Longevity at non-QB/K/P positions is one of the most impressive feats in football, to me. You need to have athleticism to spare to survive the drop off as you age. You need to constantly be elevating your craft to compensate for physical decline. And you have to really take care of yourself for your body to not just fall apart.

        • SteveH

          That’s extra crazy because I think of Green as a retro player but he was around during our championship runs…

  • unhinged

    I think we need to see Wentz in mid-season before concluding he’s taken his game to the next level.

    • Ryan Rambo

      To me….”next level” just means he’s a step (level) ahead of where he was this time last season. That’s what we all wanted for him right? To keep progressing and building on the potential and talent last season when he wasn’t even supposed to be our starter.

      • unhinged

        After a full season as a starter, if he didn’t look better this summer than he did last summer, that would be ominous. I hope he has grown and the game has slowed down for him, but his excellent footwork this summer will be tough to replicate in November, and that is where criticism or praise will be earned.

        • Ryan Rambo

          I hear ya. But many don’t repeat the success they had their first year, for many reasons. I trust Carson to care enough about his craft to continue working at his weaknesses. I like the fact that he doesn’t get rattled. Here’s to hoping he’ll lead us to our 1st SB win.

    • BlindChow

      Definitely. He looked good at the start of the year, then he started reverting to old habits once the pressure mounted (make all the excuses you need to: OL changes, bad receivers, just a rookie, blah blah blah).

      The trick will be seeing if he can keep it together when things aren’t going perfectly…

      • Tumtum

        Consistency is for sure the key.

        • Flyin

          Exactly… from the WRs.

    • Flyin

      What are you talking about? He came from North Dakota State… a subdivision of division 1 schools. I’d say he has taken his game to the next level or two.

  • Ryan Rambo

    The Eagles have restructured DE Brandon Graham’s contract.
    Graham can make an additional $1.5 million through incentives over the next two seasons. He was linked to holdout rumors during OTAs, but only ended up missing a few days. 29-year-old Graham is signed through 2018.

    • BlindChow

      Interesting. Here’s the breakdown (according to McManus):

      In 2017:
      – If he totals 7-8 sacks, he’ll get $250k
      – If he totals 9+ sacks, he’ll get $500k
      – If he makes the Pro Bowl or 1st or 2nd All-Pro team, he’ll get $250k (though McManus makes it sound like this last only applies if he doesn’t get to 9 sacks…?)

      His 2018 salary will be adjusted as follows:
      – If his 2017 sack total is 7-8, he’ll get a $250k raise
      – If it’s 9-11, he’ll get a $500k raise
      – If it’s 12+, he’ll get a $750k raise
      – 2017 Pro Bowl or 1st/2nd All-Pro, he’ll get an additional $250k raise

      • Guy Media

        Interesting numbers at which to set his bonuses as his career sack totals have been:
        2010 – 3
        2011 – 0
        2012 – 5.5
        2013 – 3
        2014 – 5.5
        2015 – 6.5
        2016 – 5.5

        So Graham was basically told to put up some better numbers or bleep off through the end of 2018.

        • Sean Stott

          Honestly there’s only a handful of players, at best, you’d rather have than Graham at DE

          • Guy Media

            Ok, but the point remains that they set his bonus money level at a level of production beyond what he’s done so far. That’s just the math of it. And he’s the Eagles player, at his current salary, through the end of 2018. So he’s here and they’re not likely to cut him. I just think the contract complains were really cheeky on his part given what his production has been and how NFL contracts work under the CBA.

        • Bert’s Bells

          That’s Ricky Williams stuff.

  • GermanEagle

    I’m wondering if Shah is still alive after seeing future Hall of Famer Joe Webb tossing a TD pass against the Texans D…

    • SteveH

      What happened to Shah? We’re lacking that dissonant voice ever since he disappeared… and Morton from back in the day is gone too. I can’t say I exactly miss Morton, but he did provide some entertainment.

      • ChoTime

        I know, I feel like some are trying to now annoint me as the resident loony. I looked normal with those guys here!

    • BlindChow

      TWO! TWO touchdown passes!

      https://i.imgflip.com/1tuszl.jpg

      (Also an interception in the red zone, but nevermind about that…)