For Real

Posted: January 25th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 497 Comments »

The Eagles are not a team of destiny. This is not a fluke.

I can’t stress that enough.

If you like analytics, Football Outsiders had the Eagles as 5th in DVOA this year…and last year. Those 7-9 Eagles were a handful of plays from having a winning record.

This year the Eagles were a good team that made clutch plays. In close games, that meant winning. In other games, that meant blowing it wide open and winning big.

Even with the useless season finale, the Eagles finished the season 7th in yards gained and 3rd in scoring. They were 4th in points and yards allowed. You don’t post numbers like that based on heart, luck or destiny. That’s an outstanding football team.

The Eagles didn’t just make the Super Bowl. This team has a real chance to win it. I think it is important to understand this isn’t the underdog Eagles against the unbeatable Patriots. I know the Pats are favored and the Eagles love the underdog label, but the reality is that these are both good teams.

Take away the QBs and the Eagles are the better team.

The QBs do factor in and that’s what gives the Patriots the advantage. Tom Brady plays well almost every time out. Nick Foles is more erratic. He needs some things to go right. When he’s on, Foles is pretty darn good.

New England finished 29th in yards allowed and opposing QBs had a rating of 89.5 against them so Foles has a chance to play well and lead the Eagles to a win. The flip side of that is that Bill Belichick is a master when it comes to putting together a great gameplan and you can bet he’s going to know Foles better than any other person on Earth.

The Eagles won’t need a perfect performance to win this game. They need to eliminate big mistakes, but this isn’t the 2001 Pats against the Rams, where New England needed all kinds of things to go their way to win. From player 2 to 53, the Eagles can trade body blows with the Pats.

QB is the mystery. Foles doesn’t have to outplay Brady, but he’s got to make his share of plays and limit mistakes.

I’m not going to get into a full preview. I’ll do that closer to the game. I do want to stress that this is a game the Eagles can absolutely win.

The 2004 Eagles lost the Super Bowl 24-21. They turned the ball over 4 times and only ran for 45 yards. That team finished 16th in the league in rushing. This year the Eagles were 6th in rushing attempts and 3rd in yards. Doug Pederson believes in running the ball and this team can do it.

I have my issues with PFF, but even if someone else disagreed with this ranking a bit, you can still see the Eagles have one of the best OLs in the NFL. I do think that grade on Big V is too low, but there may be a little recency bias from me since he just played his best game of the year.

The bottom line is that the Eagles can win the LOS. It doesn’t matter whether you play the Pats or the Vikings or anyone else. If you can win up front, you can win on the scoreboard.

Who had the more impressive path to the Super Bowl? New England beat a mediocre Titans team and then trailed the Jaguars by 10 in the 4th quarter before coming back to win.

The Eagles beat the defending NFC Champion Falcons, shutting them out in the 2nd half, and then destroyed the #2 seed Vikings by 31 points, also shutting them out in the 2nd half.

I know I’m biased, but that’s a pretty obvious choice to me.

Tom Brady is an amazing QB. Bill Belichick is an amazing coach. That said, the Eagles have nothing to fear. They don’t need to pull off any miracles to win this game. They need to play the kind of football they have all year. Beating the Pats requires good execution, not magic.

*****

Remember that the Jags outplayed the Pats for most of the game. Jacksonville got conservative and that killed them.

Doug Pederson ain’t Doug Marrone.

One of them is Big Balls Doug and the other one is Doug Marrone.

One of them is in the Super Bowl. The other one is Doug Marrone.

The Pats better hope Big Balls Doug isn’t up by 10 points in the 4th quarter. He won’t pull his foot off the gas pedal until about Wednesday after the game.

And then…only maybe.

*****

Senior Bowl notes – NORTH

Senior Bowl notes – SOUTH

After practice, I saw the Eagles talking to DE Jalyn Holmes and TE Troy Fumagalli. Holmes is interesting. He is 6-5, 279. He can play DE or DT in the Nickel. He was disruptive as an inside rusher this season and in the Senior Bowl practices.

Fumagalli is an excellent receiver, but only a marginal blocker ( and that might be generous). I love his frame and great hands, but the Eagles need one TE who is a strong blocker.

I’ll write a lot more about the Eagles and Senior Bowl prospects when it is appropriate. The focus now is on the Super Bowl.

*****

I mentioned Chris Long being a free agent earlier today. That’s not technically true. He signed a 2-year deal.

BGN has the real breakdown and it is a one-year deal with a club option. I’m sure the Eagles want him back, but can they afford him, even at a little over $2M?

The Eagles will have tough decisions on Long, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Torrey Smith, Mychal Kendricks and some other players.

We’ll talk more about that stuff in a couple of weeks.

_


  • AsianEagle

    Yes… First!! It’s afternoon my time 😉

    • Buge Halls

      Another one with the “first” nonsense! Congratulations, nobody cares!

      • porkrind1

        Yes, hoping this doesn’t become “one of those” First! comments sections.

        • Buge Halls

          I think we beat it out of the other fool who was doing it, hopefully this rookie will learn as well.

  • Steven Steiner

    We can do this. This is not the juggernaut Pat’s from 2004. This is a ptachwork defense and Tom Brady and a good supporting cast. Their run defense was 31st in DAVOA. Let’s run the ball down their throats and do it for Jerome, Reggie, Andre Waters – all Eagles past and present!!! Let’s bring it home!!!

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    In total agreement with you Tommy. This ain’t the 16-0 Pats, far from it, so we don’t have to be the miracle Giants to beat them. Just play our game and control both lines like we should be able to do against them.
    My prediction is 27-17 with a beaten up, visibly frustrated Brady looking on at the end as Blount and Ajayi eat up the last 5 minutes busting through a worn-down Pats DL.
    I’ll go even farther and say that this is the end of the line for the Pats dynasty. They’ll still win the AFC East given the other stumble-bums in that Division, but this is the last SB we’ll see Brady and BB in (and the nation shall rejoice over that!)..

    • Buge Halls

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Eagles put up multiple 6-minute plus drives on the Pats. And I would love to see the Eagles with a 10-point lead or so end the game on a long, grinding 8-minute drive! The best way to beat them is to keep Brady on the bench. Well, that and hit him…a lot!

      • meteorologist

        Would be so awesome to lay a Wentzesque 6 minute game ending drive on them

    • RobNE

      Amen!!

  • Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard

    “Doug Pederson ain’t Doug Marrone.

    One of them is Big Balls Doug and the other one is Doug Marrone.

    One of them is in the Super Bowl. The other one is Doug Marrone.”

    Tommy’s writing is severely underrated.

    • ACViking

      Fundamentally, I don’t disagree.

      But one of these coaches Had Nick Foles. The other had Blake Bortles.

      In the end, though, one of these coaches showed tremendous confidence in his quarterback. The other, not without some justification, wasn’t quite as confident.

      • sonofdman

        One these coaches took a knee with two time outs and 55 seconds left in the first half because he was content to go into the half with a 7 point lead.

        • ColorSgt

          That was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe they did that. Then I thought the Eagles would just run the ball a few times with 29 seconds left, and they drive down and kick a field goal. Making it a 3 score game at half. Purely awesome.

        • Dave

          You don’t build your QBs confidence by doing that, quite the opposite message was sent to Bortles.

  • ColorSgt

    So I looked at the patriots schedule. I was somewhat under the impression that they didn’t blow teams out. Not true. Anyway I looked at the 3 losses. Only one team beat them by at least 2 scores. That was KC first game of the season. Doug is Andy on steroids. How fitting would it be that the pats begin the season with a loss and end with a loss, while the Eagles begin with a Gatorade bath and end with one?

  • wee2424

    Yeah I thought Long was a multi year deal. Wasn’t aware it was basically 2 separate contracts with the right not to pick up the second. I really want Long on the team next year. Need Curry to restructure. Do keep in mind we have Means next year who has looked great on TV, PS, and got a sack in his only game active or at least in which he received playing time. That will play somewhat a factor in this. It was a smart move by HR to lock him up for insurance.

    I’m disappointed and surprised that Seumalo hasn’t panned out. I really thought he would be solid this year at LG. Showed a lot of promise last year, good guy, coaches son, and his strength was his technique coming out of college. That would have saved us some money with no need to resign Warmack. I pictured Seumalo as a more athletic Herremans. Good move by HR to resign Wiz. Many including me were a little surprised by that. Not disappointed, but just slightly surprised.

    Sproles is gone. Sucks but true. Clement isn’t Sproles, (nobody is) bit he has come along great as a receiving back in my opinion. Or at least had far exceeded expectations particularly in that department.I would really like to see him at PR next year. I believe he could be a weapon or at the very minimum give us somewhat consistently better feild position. This is a game of inches so him helping out the O like that would be huge.

    I’m curious what or if Pumphrey brings to the table. I’m not writing him off yet. He could prove to be an interesting piece on offense carving out a small niche for himself. If it’s possible to add him to this offense in some capacity that adds another element for a D to consider then DP will find the way to do it.

    Smith on the same type of deal that Long has will be gone. Hollins looks more then adequate enough to replace him. I think Marcus Johnson deserves and may receive somewhat more playing time. Good hands, good size, good speed for size. When he was rarely called upon he has delivered. Getting a key first down in I believe the Carolina game. I remember him putting a nasty double move on someone while running a deep corner route. Don’t remember the game but he roasted the guy. Unfortunately Wentz overthrew him but the route, how he set the CB up, and the speed to even further separate were highly impressive. By all accounts he has improved each offseason while looking good this past one. Gibson brings that real speed but I’m not high on him. Plus he is at a position in which we have a lot of talent. Possible we may see Agholor on the outside more next year. He has done on times this year, but as his confidence grows I think he has the talent in which it would be worth expanding his role.

    JP is going to be interesting. Part of me says to never count him out, part of me says he has to be done. I want him on this team because I believe if healthy he will still be a good LT. Again IF healthy. He probably won’t be by the start of the season. I’m assuming at minimum he needs to restructure at very minimum, however a pay cut is what is really needed. Considering the injury he would have to understand that. He wouldn’t want to get in the way of the team being successful. He has been great to the fans and the whole organization. Likewise the organization has done the same for him. I can see them coming to some type of agreement. Crazy but before he got hurt he was listed as the best Tackle in the game by PFF. At the age of 35!. Amazing.

    Tackle is the glaring “need” for the draft. However Big V has only gotten better as the season progressed. I see no reason as to why if he were to start next year he wouldn’t show more consistency or some type of progression. Unlike most I wouldn’t mind him starting next year. I do think he could be a more then solid LT for us. Again would I like to see him pushed by draft resources? The answer is yes, but don’t be surprised if he turns out to be a good piece on this line for some years. At worst he is a very good swing tackle. One that most teams would like to have as a backup.

    Sorry for long post. Me and GF got into fight so I’m using this as a way to soothe my head. Lol.

    • or____

      I don’t mean this so head the disclaimer…

      Fight with your girl more often.

      Good stuff. I harshly disagree with the Sprolesy conclusion though. To me he and Peters are in identical situation.

      Amazing how deep we are at wr right now, given that we have very good rb and te situation.

      Will be interested to see what they do with Burton)/te depth, as well as depth at safety, dt, and ol.

      I agree that I’ve come around on Vaitai.

      I’m now in the “sign Bradham at all costs”/Howie magic camp.

      • wee2424

        I want Bradham here. I really do. I’m just not sure if it will happen. If it doesn’t I do believe that the coaching staff, current players, and whoever the coaching staff and FO get this upcoming offseason will at least mostly mask the loss of him.

        I think Burton is going to want a bigger role on a team and deserves it. He can’t really fill the hole created by Celek due to the fact that he is not a good blocker. Ertz is the head guy for obvious reasons. He also deserves a large pay raise. He is a skilled receiving TE along with a great ST player and he will demand a nice price tag on the market. I don’t see him coming back simply because we cannot give him what he deserves.

        In my opinion Sproles and JP are different situations due to position and players on roster.

        JP is at a premier position in which he graded as the best Tackle in the season before he went down. We don’t have a lot of Tackle depth without him, and JP is clearly a much better player then Big V.

        While both are leaders on the team I view JP as the more influential.

        Sproles is at a less premier position. Cannot and will not play all the snaps and we have Ajayi and Clements on board. Both have looked great when called upon. Again, I would love to see Clement at PR.

        • or____

          Fair points, but regarding Sproles, saying he cannot play all the snaps is categorically false, proven by history. And it’s irrelevant in my opinion because of the accurate point you made about our other RBs.

          • wee2424

            What I meant by all the snaps is that he is not a work horse back such as Ajayi. Versus JP who is going to have a greater affect on the game because he will be in on 100% of the offenses snaps.

    • RC5000

      Nah, Bradham was one of the best LB s in the league this year. He was durable and played a ton of snaps. On a team with Kendricks, Hicks, Walker let’s let the durable healthy guy walk.

      Your argument who knows, maybe Gerry shows something is weak.

      I don’t know why you’re saying they’re losing Bradham : despite the loss of some players such as Burton, Bradham, and Robinson.

      • Insomniac

        I think you meant Celek instead of Bradham in the last sentence.

        • RC5000

          No that was copy and paste from O.P. near the very end of post.

      • wee2424

        I’m not trying g to make an argument. I’m simply stating from a positive standpoint that this team has the ability and I trust in the FO to mask the loss of Bradham if it does happen.

        If you are reading this as an argument that you are reading g it from the wrong standpoint.

        I’m stating those 3 players because I as a fan believe they won’t be here next year. I’m simply projecting if that’s the scenario I believe the team can overcome it.

        • cshav10

          Would be a shame to lose him. He is an outstanding linebacker and a sure sideline-to-sideline tackling machine who is also darn good in coverage. These guys don’t grow on trees.

    • Buge Halls

      TLDR

      • wee2424

        Not sure what that means. Lol sorry.

        • or____

          Don’t worry, buges comment was too short to be worth reading.

          (Too Long, Didn’t Read)

          • wee2424

            Lol gotcha.

        • Buge Halls

          Too Long, Didn’t Read

  • teltschikfakeout88

    Have you seen Derek NNadi in drills…interesting that Eagles are talkIng to Jalyn Holmes, Andrew Brown, Hand all are from the state of VA as is Derek…

  • eagleyankfan

    It was argued by me(and a few others) that this team didn’t need Sproles to win. Sproles got hurt and now the Eagles in a place where(at the time of my comments about Sproles) I never thought they’d be. As expected, this team did just fine without him. With that said — SB up next, I wish Sproles was here…
    ….
    Always enjoy reading Tommy. This made me chuckle….
    “Those 7-9 Eagles were a handful of plays from having a winning record.” hahahahahaha. That comment is said by every team, in every sport, in the history of sports when 2 games below .500.

    • Fufina

      While we have survived without Sproles, that type of weapon is absolutely lethal in a west coast offence and as we saw in 2016 can put up huge production and plays for the team. With Blount leaving and Clement moving to his more natural position as a RB2, finding a specialist 3rd down RB would be a huge positive for next season.

      • Dave

        I would say Sproles is still a huge loss. Barner is basically a guy that makes fair catches on punt returns. Without Sproles as PR and Smallwood as KR, our return teams have gone from an asset to a liability.

        • eagleyankfan

          Thoughts on rb and k/p return specialist are two different animals. Eagles special teams as a whole need improvements….

          • Dave

            I agree with your earlier post that the team did fine without Sproles the RB. The team absolutely suffered without Sproles the return man.

        • ChoTime

          Yep, going by DVOA, we have gone from one of the best to simply dead-average. Losing Sproles was a big part of that. Dude would win us games simply on special teams at times.

          • Kevin Herman

            Its nonsensical to even come close to arguing this team wouldn’t be better with Sproles.

        • xeynon

          “Liability” is too strong. But they’re no longer the strength they were, that’s true.

      • Buge Halls

        Hopefully, Pumphrey will live up to the hype and be able to step into Sproles’ spot on returns as well as out of the backfield (although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sproles back for one more year). A Sproles/B-West kind of back, who is basically a speedy, bruising WR coming out of the backfield, is the one thing the offense is lacking.

      • Forthebirds

        The question is how much will he have left in the tank at his age? I know he’s a unique talent, but age and injury can change things quickly. I love Sproles and Celek but would understand if they were let go. Of the two I’d prefer they keep Sproles as a return specialist. Also, do they resign Blount. i know he has a cheap contract.

  • Fufina

    I know no one is really thinking about the draft with the Eagles in the superbowl, but the Eagles have an interesting set of needs next year. This is obviously a superbowl roster and i think there is an good chance we have 20 of 22 starters next year back (Torrey Smith i expect to be cut, and only 1 of Kendricks/Bradham will return). Mack Hollins has looked decent in his limited moments and i think has a good chance of making the leap to being our 2nd outside receiver, who can be just the 4th option after Ertz, Jeffery and Agholor. LB wise we tend to play a lot of nickle so having a starting pair of Hicks and one of Kendricks/Bradham takes care of the starters at LB. Robinson has made too much money this year to be back but with Darby, Douglas, Mills and Sidney Jones i think we have plenty of CB depth.

    So everything is rosy right? Big V is even looking like a quality starting Tackle these days. Where the Eagles will have trouble this year is with their depth, they could potentially lose/cut: Beau Allen, Corey Graham, Burton, Celek, Blount and Watkins (+Sproles) all of whom have been important contributors for this team. Add in new holes at SAM and WR4, and questionable depth at LB anyway that is a lot of talent that needs to be replacing.

    That gives us holes or question marks at the following positions.

    Defense:
    SAM LB
    4th DT (important role with the way we use our DLine)
    3rd Safety (important role since we play 3 safeties a lot against good TE’s)
    4th/5th depth LB
    4th Safety.

    Offense:
    3rd down RB (how good would this offence be with a fit Sproles??)
    Blocking TE
    3rd TE
    WR 4
    OG/Center depth (Warmack and Seumalo have been bad)
    QB2 (If we trade Foles).

    If you only do the ‘easy’ cuts of Celek, Torrey Smith and Warmack (3 guys you can cut with nearly 0 dead cap) that gives the Eagles only enough $$ to sign our draft picks. With the amount of players we will lose to free agency and the cap situation it may be time to harvest a bounty of comp picks in 2019 if we sit out free agency entirely… but that leaves a hell of a lot of work to do in the draft/UDFA to address all those depth needs.

    • eagleyankfan

      No projection for Gibson to progress? WR is an interesting spot for the Eagles. I had someone say ‘The Eagles don’t have that elite, go to, wr’. Which in a way is true, I guess(?) – but AJ was pretty darn good last game. Something(a hunch/gut feeling) feels like we’ll see Hollins make a big play in the SB.

      • Fufina

        I am sure some of these spots will be filled by people already on the roster, Gibson/Johnson could become our WR4, Zaruba could be our TE3, Gerry/Walker could come back bigger/stronger and take on a more significant LB role, Pump could become our 3rd down back, Qualls/Shittu could take on the DT 4 role. There are possible internal solutions for a lot of these needs, we just haven’t seen anything yet from them.

    • RC5000

      I would let Kendricks go to keep Bradham. When you have a durable LB, you’re only one you need to try to keep him. They may not agree.

      They like Vaeao and Qualls. Sure they’ll bring more in but I’m not worried about 4th DT relatively with those two. It’s the least of our worries.

      With Gibson, Johnson, Treggs, Dom Williams (ir) if they retain them at WR., WR 4 Is fine. But that’s always a position they might draft if guy they like falls to a certain spot. They might look for a returner.

      This is a nice TE draft (not necessarily just a blocking TE, these are guys like Gesicki, Fumagalli, Goedert, Samuels, Schultz ,Hurst, Brenaman, Andrews some aren’t known for blocking). I’d love to get one for depth but we’d probably need to trade back and get a late 2nd or 3rd so it’s probably a longshot.

      They can trade down in addition to getting low comp picks. They almost always maneuver in mid to late rounds. The only top guy who would net a high comp pick is Bradham right and he will be a huge loss because of all the snaps he took at LB especially compared to the other LBs.

      P rob may as teams have cap room. but at his age I don’t know if he’s getting a starting level deal. Trey will get something good but how good?

      I mean yeah they have to fill the roster out with draft/UDFA if they don’t have the money to sign guys…

    • RC5000

      Curry’s cap number is really annoying $11,250,000 with $4,000,000 in dead money.

      • Fufina

        I hope they can get curry to take a small restructure. I think he is worth $7mil a year (will count $9mil against cap due to pro rated), just not the $9-10.5 over the next few years. Maybe he accepts the deal to stay with the Birds he loves and a great team, but i think he can probably easily make $9mil a year if he release him and he is a free agent… 2018 FA is going to be crazy.

    • Jernst

      People make this mistake every year. Signing draft picks, particularly if your first rounder is at the back of the round, costs you a net of basically nothing cap-wise because each contract added to the roster via the draft bumps another players contract off the roster since the cap only counts the top 53 contracts. Most years the cap taken up by draft picks is a net of only slightly more than $0. With no 2nd or 3rd, we won’t need extra space to sign draft picks.

    • Jernst

      I wouldn’t be too worried about cap space. If just Celek and Peters retire and we don’t release anyone else we’ll have twice as much cap space as we did going into last year where we were able to sign/acquire Alshon, Wis, Warmack, Blount, Ajayi, Smith, Long, Graham, Robinson, and Darby…trust me we’ll be able to keep whoever we want to keep.

  • SteveH

    As much as i appreciate Smith catching that flea flicker, I think he’s the odd man out if we need to save cap space.

    • Dave

      I see no scenario where he is on the team. IMO, all he did this year was hinder Mack’s development.

      • xeynon

        I trust the coaches’ decisions on these matters. If Smith was playing over Hollins, there’s probably a good reason for that.

    • Jernst

      Yea he’s 100% gone

  • Dave

    Lots of teams need LBs and have a ton of cap room. Bradham is going to get paid. Retaining Long and keeping Kendricks will be quite a bit cheaper than resigning Nigel.

    • Fufina

      The Kendricks contract makes him quite attractive as a trade target, could see a team offering a 4th round pick and if you can get Bradham back at lets say $9mil a year that may be worth it in the medium term.

      Schwartz was glowing about Bradham as a leader and player on this defense in his press conference this week so i think there is a chance the Eagles look to keep him and move Kendricks. I cannot see a way you can keep both unfortunately – no way you can spend $12+million on a pair of SAM/WIL LB’s in a 4-3 with the kind of money we have invested in the front 4.

      • Jean Souza

        Well, we still dont have to pay for a quarterback, so this money could go to other places.

        • Dave

          It’s already spent on current contracts as the team is over the cap next year and will have to make cuts to get under.

          • or____

            If only we had Howie Roseman who every year proves that comments like these are just not well informed

          • Dave

            Ugh! Another poster who reverts to insults when they disagree, instead of actually debating. Grow up dude.

          • xeynon

            Saying that your comment is not well informed is not an insult. It may be correct or it it may not, but it’s not an insult.

            If you want to debate you need to have a thicker skin.

          • or____

            No attempt at insults man. How many times does Roseman have to prove that what 99% of what non actual gms know about the cap is just not true and that he can find a way for people to finally realize that? Nothing personal at all. But it seems every year people say something about the cap and most end up being wrong. The actual system is super complex with loopholes galore and Howie’s a wizard.

          • Dave

            If you watched this year’s press conferences with Howie or read his quotes, he has made it clear in no uncertain terms that the team is in uncharted territories as far as cap space and big contracts.

            The team is $7M over the cap next year. Howie has never had to deal with this before and he admits lots of hard decisions will have to be made on cuts/restructuring/future contracts.

            My opinion is shaped on what Howie says at this moment, not what he did in the past under very different circumstances.

          • or____

            I hear you. And this is no doubt a very different (upcoming) year withe birds and the cap. No question.

            Personally, I have two very strong ethics I’ve developed over the past 10 or so years obsessing over this team:

            – Never, ever, under any circumstances, pay a lick of attention to anything said in a press conference. Ever.

            No, not even _____.

            NEVER.

            They’re mandatory and server a purpose other than “the speaker decided to disclose this and has no concern of not showing his cards etc…”

            AND

            The total number of non current GMs in the league (or former) (or league money guy) that fully understands the cap is the same as total # of NFL MVP trophies Donnell Pumphrey currently has (plus or minus maybe 9 or 10) – TOTAL.

          • Dave

            Lurie, Joe D., and Howie typically only give press conferences after a transaction has been completed. They absolutely tend to be forthright answering questions on why a decision was made after the fact. I can’t think of any other reason Lurie, Joe D. or Howie has ever given a press conference.

            I think you’re confusing the weekly coach/coordinator press conferences with front office press conferences. Even with them, Doug is much more enlightening that Andy, Chip, Belichick, etc. Reich is typically straightforward while Schwartz is tends be vanilla.

            Not sure why you felt the need to tell me you’ve been obsessing with this team for 10 years unless you think I’m a newbie. I’ve been reading Tommy’s work since the early 2000’s on TATE and have been following the team/going to games since the 1980s.

          • or____

            Ok buddy. Let’s make peace. I never intended for any of this to be personal about you or I at all.

            Mentioned the past ten years as a ballpark reference for when I came to observe what informed this opinion of mine. That’s all.

            Enjoy the amazing sb ride brother. It’s all gravy

          • xeynon

            Brent Celek ($4 million in cap savings if cut) and Torrey Smith ($5 million) are already as good as gone, so while true, this is a bit misleading.

          • kajomo

            Vinny Curry and Chris Maragos could provide relief too.

          • xeynon

            Yep, but I think Curry’s more likely a candidate to have his contract restructured than to be cut outright, while Maragos provides less cap relief so I think there’s less reason to cut him unless you have to.

          • kajomo

            The reason i think Curry is cut is looking at 2019 and beyond. Carson will be up for extension as will Ajayi, Darby, Hicks, Mills, Vaitai, and a few others. While I would like Curry around for 2018 I think we need him off the books in 2019. If we wait a year to cut him we still have his dead money limiting the cap savings in 2019. Navigating this salary cap is going to be a real challenge over the next several seasons

          • xeynon

            That’s a fair point. If a restructure can’t be done in such a way as to minimize the chances of re-signing those guys, there is a good chance he’ll be gone. Of course I suspect by 2019 several other high cap hit veterans currently on the roster (Peters etc.) will be gone as well.

      • Dave

        Kendricks has a $3.2M cap hit if cut or traded. By your scenario, it would be a $12M cap hit to trade Kendricks and resign Bradham.

        IMO, you pay Pro-Bowl LBs $9M. Bradham is not in that category.

        • Insomniac

          He is definitely in that category.

          • RC5000

            He was clearly a top linebacker. In 11 games too, he was out there for every single snap. That speaks volumes.

          • Insomniac

            He was great last year as well.

          • Dave

            Not at 29 years old (when the season starts).

          • Insomniac

            And? Hicks will be 26 with one full season under his belt and looked just average this season. Kendricks will be 28 and has been inconsistent his entire career. You need LBs to play a wide 9 because we’ve already seen a wide 9 with headless chickens for LBs.

          • RC5000

            Bradham has been so consistent in this D, I don’t think he’s going to fall off that quickly. But there’s always some risk.

          • Insomniac

            There’s risks in all 3 of our LBs. I’ll gladly take the risk of having Bradham slowly fall off because I sure as hell don’t know what I’m getting with the other two.

          • Fufina

            All of Howie’s contracts are basically 2 or 3 (in case of extensions) year deals with 2-3 years of team options. There is no issue keeping Bradham till he is 31, and after that it is year to year depending on his performance.

          • Dave

            We’ll have to disagree that Hicks looked average.

          • Insomniac

            Jordan Hicks – Was in on 7 tackles and recovered a fumble. Had a chance for an early INT and leapt for the ball, but couldn’t get his hands on it. Good vision to see that and to try to make the play. Blitzed several times. Very smart. Got pressure, but didn’t go out of control and draw penalties for roughing the passer. Should have had a sack, but was wiped out by a penalty on Bradham.

            Jordan Hicks was mostly outstanding. He was in on 3 tackles. He showed great range in flying from sideline to sideline. He had the two biggest hits on Smith in the game on blitzes.

            Jordan Hicks got hurt.

            Jordan Hicks had 8 solo tackles and was pretty good in coverage. He showed great range, making plays all over the field. Had one key error. Overran run play in the 4th and RB cut upfield for long TD. Hicks wasn’t the only one at fault on that run, but he made a mistake.

            Jordan Hicks had somewhat of a quiet game, finishing with 4 tackles. Did have one standout duty. Did a great job on 3rd and longs. Lined up deep, read the play and flew up to make the tackle. Ended 3 drives with his tackles. Blitzed on 3rd down in RZ and was unblocked. Hesitated for maybe half a second and that was all the time Palmer needed to throw a TD. Should have been getting hit as he threw.

            Jordan Hicks only played part of the game before leaving with an injury. Was still in on 4 tackles. Mix-up between Hicks and Kendricks led to easy catch and run by Stewart.

            Literally everything about Hicks this season (from Tommy). He was good at times but nowhere near his 2016 form.

          • Dave

            I was going by Hicks entire career so far, not just this season. He looked awesome his first 2 years. I agree he hasn’t looked as good this year, but he was definitely an asset and was rarely a liability. Compared to someone like Kendricks who can go from world-beater on one play to practice squad on the next.

            I’m going by Howie’s mantra in the offseason that they wanted to develop players and not rely on free agency. Hicks fits that mold perfectly.

            If he gets injured again next year, I’m not sure you can throw money at him. Sean Lee is a stud, but his availability seems at times to outweigh his contract.

          • D3FB

            Bradham has 1 great season under his belt, several meh and a couple good. He’s not Bobby Wagner but is going to get 9mil plus

        • xeynon

          I agree, I like Nigel Bradham, but he’s not a guy you pay $9 million a year.

          • Fufina

            $1.2billion in cap space, 50% more than $800mil in FA cash in 2017, 100% more than the 600mil in FA cash in 2018. Teams like the Browns have to spend to reach their FA minimum spends.

            Entire NFL market needs to reset ~35-25% higher for contracts and i think 2018 FA may be when it happens, so that $9mil contract is a $6-7mil 2017 contract and i think he has earned that

    • Insomniac

      Long is going to be 33 and Means is more than adequate as his replacement. Bradham has been the most consistent and healthy LB we’ve had in a long time, it’ll be stupid to not try to retain him.

      • Dave

        We are $7M over the cap next year. Howie is supposedly trying to rework Brandon Graham’s contract. I’m not sure how much you can invest in a LB when Hicks will be a free agent after 2018.

        • Insomniac

          Hicks has yet to prove that he deserves a big deal.

          • Dave

            Due to injury, I agree. As for product on the field, Hicks is a better player.

          • Insomniac

            No.

          • xeynon

            When healthy, Hicks is absolutely a better player than Bradham.

            Bradham is assignment sound and good in coverage. Hicks makes big plays in addition to being assignment sound and good in coverage.

            The issue is injuries.

          • Insomniac

            Maybe last year but he wasn’t the better player this year. Sure Hicks can be a turnover machine but I need to see more consistency to even place him above Bradham (blaming Kendricks for this one). So far he’s an one year wonder who’s flashed a high ceiling but needs to show that he can reach it again after an ACL injury.

          • xeynon

            I agree he’s not perfect and not someone who justifies a big contract extension at this point given his health. But he has a high ceiling. We know what Bradham’s ceiling is and it’s “very solid starting linebacker”. That’s not a guy you pay $9 million a year.

          • RC5000

            For sure Bradham is more consistent. Hicks goes to the wrong spot more and doesn’t always shed blocks.

      • xeynon

        Means will be 28 next season, so he’s not a developmental guy, and he is an UFA this offseason. Very little chance he’s back IMO.

        • kajomo

          Means signed a 1 year extension this offseason. He’ll be back.
          I think it’s likely we cut Curry and replace him on the cheap.

          • xeynon

            Oh missed that extension.

            He’ll certainly be back for camp at least in that case. I’m not sure he’s an adequate replacement for Long though. I’ve never been that impressed with him.

          • kajomo

            No Long needs to stay. Graham, Long, and Barnett give us 3 quality rushers. I’d like to add another DE in the draft and th rookie and Means can battle for #4 DE/playing time

          • xeynon

            I’m okay with that plan, but I’d also be fine with keeping Curry if he’ll take a restructure to lower his cap number.

        • Jernst

          Means is not an UFA this offseason. His one year extension runs through 2018.

          https://overthecap.com/player/steven-means/2274/

    • kajomo

      im Not sure that “Lots of teams need LBs.” LB is a devalued position throughout the NFL with the exception of a few teams. Starting LBs are found throughout the draft. Bradham himself was a 4th round pick. Hicks was a 3rd.

      Teams were in the same situation 2 years ago when there wasn’t a huge market for Bradham. I think he’ll get a better deal, but be’s Not breaking the bank.

      • Dave

        The 49ers and Browns have over $100M in cap space. Ten (10) teams have over $50M in cap space.

        According to WalterFootball.com, Bradham is the #1 rated outside linebacker free agent (that was the first results when Googling).

        Add those two factors together, and the odds are pretty high that Bradham will get paid handsomely.

        http://walterfootball.com/freeagents2018OLB.php

        • kajomo

          Eh, maybe. I guess the surplus of cash could cause a team to go on a spending spree.

          Bradham isn’t some elite player that deserves big time money.

          I am really curious to see what the winning culture here does for contract negotiations. The Seahawks and patriots have routinely gotten players to agree to team friendly deals. I think the eagles are a team that players want to play for. Bradham especially I think enjoys playing for Schwartz.

          • Dave

            “I guess the surplus of cash could cause a team to go on a spending spree.”

            It happens every offseason. Look no further than the Jags and what they did last offseason with a boatload of cap room. They spent over $168M.

            “The Seahawks and patriots have routinely gotten players to agree to team friendly deals.”

            Name some starting players who took less to stay with those 2 teams (besides Brady whose wife is worth over $100M)?

          • kajomo

            Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett both went to the Seahawks on cheap deals.

            Devon McCourty took less money to stay with the patriots.

            There are lots of examples. I know Alshon and PROb both took less money this year to come to the eagles.

          • Dave

            Michael Bennett signed a 3 year, $30,500,000 contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He absolutely did not give them a discount. Bennet actually pissed and moaned for a whole season on how he wanted more money.

            http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2627993-michael-bennett-seahawks-agree-to-new-contract-details-comments-and-reaction

            Cliff Avril signed a 4 year, $28,500,000 contract in 2014 at the age of 28. That was not a discount.

            https://247sports.com/nfl/seattle-seahawks/Bolt/Seahawks-give-DE-Cliff-Avril-four-year-contract-extension-33997843

            Devin McCourty signed a 5 year, $47,500,000 in 2015. That was not a discount.

            http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4778888/breaking-down-devin-mccourtys-contract

            Alshon absolutely took less money, albeit, at $13M per year, the discount is minimal considering he is getting a huge sum of money.

          • kajomo

            Bennett and Avril both came to the Seahawks on cheap deals to win a championship. They both re-sign under market value.

            I am not suggesting we will get star players to come on the vet minimum. I am saying if contracts are in the same ballpark I could see players taking a little less to be here. $26 mil here may be more attractive than 30 mil in Cleveland.

          • Dave

            Neither signed with Seattle for cheap to win a championship. Bennett had a torn rotator cuff and Avril overvalued himself.

            “Although multiple teams were reportedly in contact with Michael Bennett early in free agency, the pass rusher ended up settling for a one-year, $5 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

            Now we know why his market never developed.

            Bennett has been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday.”

            http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000153219/article/michael-bennett-reportedly-has-torn-rotator-cuff

            “Avril’s deal with the Seattle Seahawks came as a shock because it’s only for two years and $15 million. Avril was hoping for a long-term deal worth a lot more than $7.5 million per year, but clearly the market didn’t develop as he had hoped.”

            https://www.prideofdetroit.com/2013/3/14/4104560/cliff-avril-gosder-cherilus-contract

  • Dave

    I’m really wondering how the defense plays against the Pats. Brady is the master at getting the ball out quickly by dinking and dunking. If their receivers are given 7 to 10 yard cushions, it’s going to be a long day. The defense has gotten away with it because they tend to tighten up in the redzone. The problem with that is Gronk is a redzone nightmare for defenses.

    • eagleyankfan

      “gotten away with it” — vs. JJ/Sanu or Rudolph/Thielen – insert whoever you want — but the Eagles haven’t just “gotten away with it”…

      • Dave

        Yes they have as outside of Eli, no team has come in with a game plan to exploit the soft coverage. None of the guys you have listed, including Julio, are anywhere near the threat of Gronk in the redzone.

        • eagleyankfan

          You mean – the number 2 in total yards in the NFL JJ wasn’t a threat? My point is — all the teams that played the Eagles see the same thing. Eagles had a tremendous D all season. Thinking all of a sudden 1 guy is going to exploit it is going off of Gronk’s numbers and not the Eagles D numbers. Gronk is great – but this ‘soft’ coverage defensive plan is of no worries….

          • Dave

            What I mean is that the Eagles play a bend-don’t-break defense. That works great when you can tighten up coverage in the redzone. Gronk is a monster mismatch in the redzone, more than even Julio.

        • kajomo

          I don’t think you are giving the eagles D enough credit.

          Do you really believe every other team that watched the giants tape said “wow they were successful. Let’s do something else.”

          Every team tried to do that to the eagles. The Falcons and Vikings both started that way until the eagles clamped down. Think about how many short passes we incomplete or short of the sticks in the Vikings game.

          Let’s also look at those 2 giants games.

          Game 1 we dominated until Fletch, Hicks, McLeod all went down mid game with injuries. Ronald Darby was already hurt. Jalen Mills did have his worst game of the season. He has been lights out lately.

          Game 2 we were playing our 3rd straight road game after spending 2 weeks on the west coast. We know that other teams have been greatly impacted by such extended road trips. I think it had a lot to do with our defensive performance.

          • ChoTime

            Fun facts: The best QB the Eagles will play this year will be in two weeks. The best coach the Eagles will play this year will be in two weeks.

          • kajomo

            I hate these catchy, no analysis lines people throw out.

            The best defense they played was last week. I guess we should expect to put up50 next week

          • ChoTime

            That’s some impressive blinders if you actually think what I said has little bearing on the game.

          • kajomo

            I’m not saying they aren’t huge factors, but you’re acting as if they are the only factors in determining this game.

            We have advantages in the trenches on both sides of the ball. I’m not so sure DP will be outcoached. Our run game can help control the clock and limit Brady’s oppurtunities. There are a lot of things in our favor that you are just throwing out the window by saying “best coach and QB we face all year.”

            I get you’re scared. I don’t think this eagles team will be.

          • ChoTime

            Dude, you’re really quick with the personal insults today, aren’t you?

          • kajomo

            I didn’t really personally insult you. I said you are afraid.

            Are you not afraid of the patriots. Every comment you make is fear based. Plenty of people are afraid of the patriots. I think we have a good chance to win this game. I’m not looking at their QB and coaches and proclaiming “Game over.”

          • ChoTime

            You’re being silly and overreacting again. You often read too much into what I say and try to pigeonhole me in some negative manner. I know you don’t mean anything by it, but it’s really not very nice and not a good look for you.

            When Wentz went down, I think you and others were bridgejumping, but I didn’t. That’s because I knew there was always a chance we could win one game, and then the other, because we have a good team.

            Now that we massacred the Vikings, I am not getting too high about it. It showed something, sure, it is data. It is more evidence that we are a very damn good team. But it only moves the needle a little bit.

            The Patriots are a damn good team and they don’t keep winning by accident. Having the best QB and the best coach matters a lot. Again, not an accident they keep winning.

            I had us at 40% chance of beating the Vikings. Against the Patriots, I don’t know. Maybe 50%

            Is that Negadelphian? Is that fear based? Can you stop with the insults and treat people with respect?

          • kajomo

            This started by me saying that the original poster didn’t give the eagles D enough credit for limiting opposing offenses. I explained my reasoning behind that arguement.

            You disregarded everything i said by stating it didn’t matter because this was the best coach and QB we’d face all year. You didn’t further the conversation or address any point I made. You simply insinuated that the because of Brady and B.B. nothing else mattered.

            I wanted the patriots to beat the Jags. I think they are a pretty mediocre SB opponent. Brady is the GOAT. So is BB. I respect them, but don’t fear them. I know we have the better roster. This isn’t an overreaction to the Vikings game. I’m not expect Foles to play like he did last week. I trust the guys in the trenches to win this game for us.

          • ChoTime

            Nah, dude. When you’ll settle down, you’ll see I just added what I thought was an interesting comment: that there is something different about this next game. All this other stuff you’re reading into it.

          • bill

            Fun fact: The best defenses the Eagles will play this year are all in the rear view mirror.

            Meh. It’s any given Sunday league. All these “fun facts” are trivia. Can’t ever discount the Pats, but you also can’t make them out to be something they’re not (this year). Based on what they did this season, the Eagles should win both trenches, and Brady will be dangerous in the 4th quarter. Beyond that? I’ll wait and see.

          • ChoTime

            I don’t disagree. Personally, I find it interesting that the best QB and coach we’ll face this year are coming up. I’m not saying anything beyond that.

          • Dave

            “Do you really believe every other team that watched the giants tape said “wow they were successful. Let’s do something else.””

            If there is one thing I learned over the years is that it is a rarity for a coach to actually game plan based on an opponent’s weakness. They all say they do it, but in reality, they don’t follow through. Most offensive coordinators have a system and generally stick to it.

            Pederson and Reich have done more to gameplan against an opponents’ weakness this season than I can ever remember Andy doing during his entire tenure. Most teams have an identity and stick to it.

          • kajomo

            I agree that teams don’t abandon their system, but all systems have a short passing game. The eagles D isn’t gettinh simply because opposing coaches fail to attack them in this fail proof way. The eagles defense is just good.

    • ChoTime

      I agree, Dave. If Eli can do it, I tend to think Brady can as well. I just don’t see Belichik going away from such an obvious weakness, and he has the players to do it.

      On the other side of it, he’s going to want to disrupt and confuse Nick and make him have to think.

      I won’t be surprised at all if both of these things happen and we really struggle.

      • kajomo

        This is why talent matters. It’s allngreat to have a good game plan. Most teams do. Then you get blown off the ball by our dominant OL Andrew DL and your game plan doesn’t look as great

        • xeynon

          To quote Mike Tyson, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

          • P_P_K

            In Cosell’s voice: “Down goes Brady. Down goes Brady.”

          • ACViking

            To translate . . .

            Everyone has a plan until TYSON punched them in the mouth.

            If I punched Michael Spinks in the mouth I’d be dead.

        • ChoTime

          I hope that happens, and I’m not saying it won’t. I certainly could see our superiority in the lines making the difference in the game. But thinking we’re the 85 Bears because we beat the Vikings badly is not good thinking.

          • xeynon

            I don’t see anybody thinking that.

            Nobody is claiming this game is a mismatch in the Eagles’ favor. Just that there are a lot of matchups that do favor us and people claiming it’s a mismatch in the Patriots’ favor are mistaken.

          • kajomo

            I don’t think we are the 85 Bears, but I also don’t think we are trying to stop an elite offense. I do think we are better than both Giants teams that beat them.

          • xeynon

            I don’t even know if it’s a matter of “think” – by pretty much any statistical measure we are better than both of those Giants teams, and by pretty much any statistical measure this Patriots team is inferior to both of those Patriots teams.

            Doesn’t mean we’ll win, but the idea that we don’t have a very good chance to win this game is off base IMO. As I’ve said in previous threads, I’m actually more confident about beating the Patriots than I was about beating the Vikings.

          • kajomo

            Me too. You know where I stand on this patriots team. They don’t have the balanced approach to keep our defense honest. I think their D is just bad.

      • xeynon

        Belichick’s teams have historically struggled to stop the kind of offense the Eagles run. The Chiefs hung 42 on them this season. Their linebackers are slow and Patrick Chung still sucks.

        It’s not an easy matchup – they are a Super Bowl team after all. But I think you should have a bit more faith in our coaches. Mike Zimmer is a really good coach, who fielded a defense much better than Belichick’s this season, and Pederson undressed him last week.

        • Stephen E.

          I swear, Belichick must be trotting Chung out there just to show how good he is at getting mediocre players to play well. You can’t tell me that there wasn’t a veteran FA or late-round draft pick out there in the last three years who could easily outplay Chung.

  • xeynon

    Forget going to the SB this year – the fact that Pederson got a team with Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, and pre-confidence transplant Nelson Agholor as its WRs, Ryan Mathews as its lead back, Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll as its starting CBs, and Connor Barwin as its best pass rusher to finish 5th in DVOA is proof enough that he’s a great coach. 4 of those 7 guys are now out of the league. That’s the definition of making chicken salad out of chicken poop.

    • eagleyankfan

      So — kudos to GM?

      • Jernst

        Nah…Eagles were 5th in DVOA with all those crap players last year. Their record was only 7-9 but by DVOA they were ranked fifth. That’s some good coaching.

        GM Howie deserves credit for replacing those guys with better players too obviously.

      • meteorologist

        He’s talking about last year

    • ChoTime

      It’s interesting to think that we had the same DVOA, isn’t it? That means in terms of stats, we haven’t improved at all–or that any expected improvement was due to Wentz’s expected improvement as a QB.

      Therefore all the praise for Howie about the players he brought in this off-season is pretty much just noise.

      I’m not saying I hold to that thought, but it really is odd that our per-play performance was about the same.

      • xeynon

        There are limitations to DVOA as there are to any statistic. We pretty clearly improved this year. Besides, we were ranked in the top 3 in DVOA all season until the Oakland and Dallas games at the end knocked us down.

        • ChoTime

          I know, but Wentz not being a rookie would be expected to give us a bump regardless of what players were brought in or what else Dug did.

          But yes, I don’t really believe that we are as good this year as last. And there have actually been a lot of changes in our stats, but they just happen to add up to the same ranking.

      • FairOaks

        I think our offensive DVOA took a beating that last game against the Cowboys, and somewhat the Raiders game. Defensive DVOA was hurt during the Seahawks/Rams/Giants stretch.

        I think we were 3rd in DVOA before the Raiders game, and 4th before the Cowboys game.

        • ChoTime

          Yeah, we definitely tailed off when Wentz went down. We had the #1 ranked offense for a while there. We were co-ranked as #1 with LA for a week or two.

          The most surprising thing of all to me was just that we were ranked high _last_ year, not this year (actually that was pointed out early in the season to me; I’d forgotten).

          Over there at FO, there was always a running joke that DVOA overrated the Eagles. The programmer actually asked for ideas once about how to rate them better. But that year when they had a 8-8 record or whatever and were ranked #1; they still managed to kill the Cowboys and get within a play or two of the Superbowl.

          Recently Lurie revealed that the Eagles have always had a stat department, but the difference with Dug is that he actually cooperates with it. I always thought that Andy must use stats, because his philosophies seem to be based on them (for example, throwing has a higher value in stats, by far, than running).

      • meteorologist

        We were ranked 5th both years. Not necessarily at the same DVOA, however. Also, losing Wentz will have a negative effect on this year’s DVOA obviously

    • meteorologist

      Hey Ryan Mathews wasn’t bad!

  • Insomniac

    I’m more worried about Cooks than Gronk right now. You gotta march down the field to get to the RZ and Cooks is just one route/throw away from getting in or close to the RZ.

    • eagleyankfan

      same as below – why are all of a sudden WR’s a concern? Eagles faced way better WR’s than Cooks. If the DL does what it’s supposed to do…there isn’t a WR on that team that scares me. That doesn’t mean they won’t have a big day — but the Eagles just faced a stream of extremely good WR’s on the Vikes and Falcons…I’ll take JJ/Sanu/Thielen on my team over Cooks…

      • Insomniac

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4jqL3o4xNs

        Fastest WR that we’ll play in the playoffs
        Can beat you on short routes and long ones
        Made second team All Pro CB Bouye just look bad
        Would have beat Ramsey if Brady didn’t under throw him but drew PI anyway

        • xeynon

          Ehhh, Bouye ran Cooks off the field on one of those DPI calls and for some reason they called it interference.

          Cooks is a good player but come on. He’s not as dangerous as Julio Jones or the combo of Thielen/Diggs.

          • Insomniac

            Bouye got torched even if you disregard that PI. He was so scared of getting beat over the top that he gave up the easy first downs. You simply just can’t do that with Brady leading that team.

            Sure if you can somehow fuse Diggs and Thielen together but that’s not happening. Thielen is overrated and Diggs is a tier below Cooks for now. Julio is the best overall WR in the game but he doesn’t have Brady throwing to him.

            Cooks is easily our worst mismatch after Julio and Gronk. He’s too fast for Mills and Robinson. He can run underneath routes and double moves on Darby. I would love to be proven wrong but on paper it looks terrible especially since he already did it against supposedly better CBs.

          • xeynon

            We have played better receivers this year and survived, including several who had quarterbacks who, while not as good as Brady, are plenty dangerous. Yes, Cooks is too fast for Mills and Robinson alone, but (1) Darby can keep up with him and we can travel Darby if need be and (2) a good pass rush (which we’ll need to win anyway) is going to make it a lot harder to throw slow developing routes like out-and-ups.

            Cooks is a good player but he’s not someone to look at and soil your underwear over.

          • Insomniac

            That’s an incredibly narrow view.

          • xeynon

            Brandin Cooks had 65 catches for 1,082 yards and 7 TDs. Those numbers ranked respectively 10th, 20th, and 14th among NFL wide receivers. In a year when some top wide receivers (OBJ, Julian Edelman, Allen Robinson) lost all or part of the season to injury and others (Jordy Nelson, DeAndre Hopkins, TY Hilton) played all or part of the season without their star quarterbacks.

            As I said, the guy is a good player. He’s not Randy Moss. Yes he needs to be accounted for but you’re entirely too scared of him.

          • Insomniac

            Ignore the fact that he just put up 100+ yards on the best duo of CBs in the league. Lets also ignore the fact that they had to double cover him deep with said duo of CBs because they can barely keep up with him.

          • xeynon

            Nick Foles just put up one of the best postseason passing lines of all time against the best defense in the league. Do you think he’s suddenly morphed into Joe Montana?

            One game is one game. Wildly overreacting to one game is silly.

          • Insomniac

            Foles is also in the HoF for a historical anomaly season so we know that he’s capable at his peak.Stop treating him like he’s Case Keenum. I can’t believe I wrote that.

            One game is all that matters right now.

          • xeynon

            I’m not treating him like he’s Case Keenum. I’ve been a defender of his, more than most people. I think under the right circumstances he can be a very effective QB.

            My point is that one Peyton Manning-esque performance doesn’t mean he’s Peyton Manning. Sample size matters and the entirety of a guy’s season/career matters. The larger body of data on Foles suggests that he’s a high variance, lower tier starter, and the larger body of data on Cooks suggests that he’s a very good but not elite WR. One outstanding performance is not going to make me completely rethink my evaluation of either player.

          • meteorologist

            You don’t know if he was responsible for the deep third etc. You assume he was in man coverage on those plays where he was playing “scared” as you said

          • Insomniac

            We don’t but the results are pretty clear.

          • meteorologist

            Diggs is not a tier below Cooks

          • Insomniac

            Yes he is. Cooks has been great since he got into the league, Diggs is good but he needs to put together better performances.

          • meteorologist

            https://twitter.com/MattHarmon_BYB/status/956638870589730816

            Nah he’s a stud. If he had a stud QB (and if he could stay healthy) everyone would be calling him a top 5 WR.

      • RC5000

        Thielen is very good but he’s overrated by some I think. Cooks has 27 career TDs to Thielen’s measly 10 career TDs. People told me Vikes WRs were better than ours. Well I countered Jeffery and Ags had 17 TDs to Thielen and Diggs 12 and we wiped them up.

        • xeynon

          Thielen was also a part-time depth player for his first two years in the league, whereas Cooks has always been a full-time starter. Cooks has also had the luxury of playing with two HoF QBs whereas Thielen has not. I’d take Thielen as the two of them stand now.

        • meteorologist

          Ever heard of sample size?

          • RC5000

            My god go back to your Vikings fan hole lmao. Your lack of class and dignity is pathetic lol.

            Your Vikings and their WRs were shredded by the Eagles and their receivers but here you are trolling and spamming some more like the little shit you are. IT’S OVER.

            YOUR VIKINGS AND THEIR RECEIVERS GOT THEIR ASSES HANDED TO THEM BY THE EAGLES AND THEIR RECEIVERS.

            But here this dumb ass is still trolling and arguing this after Eagles dismantled the Vikings. omg.

            hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      • RC5000

        I’d take Cooks all day over Sanu. I don’t even see how that’s a debate.

      • Insomniac

        Are you saying that our CBs are better than Ramsey/Bouye?

      • Dave

        I agree with Insomniac. Cooks is an absolute burner, running a 4.33 at the combine.

        I’d be curious to see if Darby follows him around the field.

      • meteorologist

        Surely you mean JJ/Diggs/Thielen

    • kajomo

      I’m honestly much more concerned about Brady killing us on the short passing game than hitting Cooks deep.

      • Insomniac

        Cooks beat them on the short routes too.

        • kajomo

          I’m just saying I don’t think it will be bombs away to Cooks all game. They aren’t going to hold the ball that long and risk pressure.

          I think they will want to use the short passing game to control the clock. I really think our offense is a big mismatch against their D.

          • Insomniac

            Of course not. Brady doesn’t have the arm to do that anymore.

            The same can apply to their offense as well. Eli and Alex Smith made us look bad with a hurry up dink and dunk attack.

    • xeynon

      Gronkowski is perhaps the best TE of all time and an elite weapon both in the RZ and in the deep passing game elsewhere on the field. Cooks is a decent starting WR.

      Your priorities are misplaced.

      • Insomniac

        and he was concussed last week.

        • xeynon

          He’s gonna be fine for the SB. Two weeks to recover and he doesn’t have many brain cells to lose to begin with. There’s zero chance he doesn’t play.

          • Insomniac

            Oh he’ll play. I just think that it’ll slightly have an impact on him. Probably grasping at straws for this one since Gronk will be Gronk.

          • xeynon

            In any case when I worry about stopping the Patriots’ offense Gronk is far and away my biggest concern.

            Cooks is way down the list, in the same tier as Lewis and Amendola.

          • Masked Man

            “Gronk play football.”

          • xeynon

            GRONK SMASH PUNY CORNERBACK!!! RRRRRAAAAAAUUUUUUGHHHH!!!

    • Tdoteaglefan

      Really hope that shwartz recognizes that Cooks has issues against Man coverage and has Darby press him at the line of scrimmage..cooks has struggled with that since Oregon state…Matt waldman ( who is great to follow) has some interesting breakdowns about him..I was trying to link some videos but don’t know how to share instagram posts here

      “2. TEAMS ARE FIGURING OUT THAT BRANDIN COOKS STRUGGLES AGAINST MAN COVERAGE
      Earlier this season, I wrote about Cooks’ issues with man coverage. It’s something I’ve noted about him since he was at Oregon State. Cooks is a good NFL receiver, but he’s not a great one and the expectations that he’d deliver more than low-end fantasy WR1 production was one based on overvaluing athletic ability and undervaluing technical skill.

      The Dolphins exploited Cooks last Monday thanks to a fantastic game from cornerback Xavien Howard. Pittsburgh noted that performance and opted to switch its normal defensive gameplan from a zone-heavy scheme to a man-heavy approach.

      Cooks still managed 60 yards and a touchdown, but there were notable targets where he struggled. Considering that Pittsburgh altered the core philosophy of its defense despite a group of cornerbacks he drafted to play more zone than man, kept the game close to the very end, and Cooks wasn’t a significant factor in the second half of this game, I’d say the strategy was not only successful but a notable indication that Cooks’ value is currently at its ceiling.

      While the route below may be a fade, it doesn’t mean the receiver should fade away from the target. Cooks not only fails with his attempt to release from the line of scrimmage, he doesn’t have the right plan for addressing the target at the top of his stem.

      These are longstanding issues with Cooks’ game. Again, he’s a good receiver and a fantasy asset. However, do not expect Cooks to become a top-five fantasy receiver in New England thanks to the magical thinking, “he’ll have a full year in the offense and that acclimation will make him better.”

      That kind of explanation is sportswriter fluff. Yes, Cooks should get sharper at reading coverage adjusting to it the way Brady wants him to, but for Cooks to ascend to a higher tier, he’ll need to develop greater skill against tight man coverage. Until I see it, I won’t believe the hype.

      Neither should you.”

      • Insomniac

        Love Waldman but I usually just read his draft stuff.

  • Bert’s Bells

    Do post season game checks impact salary cap? Asking for a friend, thanks.

    • Fufina

      Game checks do not count, but earned bonuses do. I don’t know what Howie has put in as bonuses on peoples contracts but i wouldn’t be shocked if we have a fair few guys with some extra $$ going there way for getting to/winning superbowl.

    • D3FB

      No they do not

  • bdbd20

    Am I the only one that thinks Brandon Graham and Timmy Jernigan will be living in the Pats backfield all game long?

    • A Roy

      I’m more inclined to think Jernigan and Cox will have more sucess.

      • xeynon

        Cox is likely to get double or triple teamed. The other guys are going to have to step up.

        • A Roy

          Pat’s OL weakness is their interior. Brady is good at avoiding DE rush by stepping up in pocket. Need DTs to break pocket and flush out Brady for 55 and 75.

          • xeynon

            Not sure I agree with that. They had two OL ranked in the top 25 by PFF (I know, PFF so caveats apply) – C David Andrews and G Shaq Mason. I can’t say I’ve watched their OL closely all season, but I wasn’t overly impressed with their RT last week. Nate Solder is a good player but not elite.

          • A Roy

            Interesting. Knew they had one poor guard and thought the other one was dinged. Appears it’s a backup RT…Waddle.

          • Stephen E.

            Their interior OL is good, but the inside is where the Eagles D will need to attack nonetheless because inside pressure is about the only thing that will rattle 12.

        • bdbd20

          Yeah, this is what I was thinking. The Dark Lord will ensure Cox is a non-factor. Graham and TJ should have 1-on-1 all game long.

    • RobNE

      the problem is we will see those semi illegal rub plays and quick passes all day. Lots of screens.

  • knighn

    The Eagles are not a team of destiny. This is not a fluke.

    True, but the Eagles do have Destiny on their side!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d6f0d795ee000fb8c5ca2c4cf8325eef06667c439c2beac8db82bf8d76a2034.jpg

    • A Roy

      Destiny, destiny, no escaping that for me.

    • xeynon

      True story – a friend of mine taught at a high school in American Samoa and helped Destiny Vaeao write his college applications. She also knows Seumalo personally (Samoa is a small place).

  • A Roy

    If I’m Belichick, I ‘run blitz’ 5 or 6 early and often to get Foles off his spot, hit a couple times and, maybe, rattled. If I’m BB Doug, I plan for that, protect for that and throw the correct passes. Easier said than done.

    • P_P_K

      If I’m Schwartz I’m doing something similar to Brady.

      • A Roy

        Knock him down and make sure to put lots if pressure on those stitches.

        • P_P_K

          Yes.

    • ACViking

      I’m interested to learn what two of Belichick’s best buds — Nick Saban and the Chipster — tell him about (i) how best to defend the RPO, (ii) the RPO’s most exploitable weaknesses, respectively.

      ‘Cause that’s been the Birds’ bread-and-butter so far in the post season.
      _______________

      Sure, Belichick’s a defensive genius.

      But Saban’s been defending the RPO longer and at a greater frequency (I’d wager). And he’s no slouch.

      And Chip is “Mr. RPO” — and he hates (in whatever order you want):
      * Lurie
      * Roseman
      * Eagles
      * Foles
      * Philadelphia
      * This BLOG!!!

      • Fufina

        RPO is more a function of our OL dominance, rather than anything else. If teams believed they could handle our running game with their DL mainly, and kept their LB’s 3-4 yards deep then you cannot throw those slants and quick hitters because the LB’s will be in position to be in throwing lanes.

        Problem is our OL is dominant, teams are unwilling to let us run so with Nick Foles, so they get their LB’s to over play the run, and the response to that the Eagles are throwing behind those aggressive LB’s.

        This isn’t something you can ‘scheme’ and i doubt Nick Saban has an answer as i don’t think Alabama has ever played an OL that can dominate the talent they always have DL.

        The only ‘scheme’ response is to bring your safeties down deep in the box to take away those routes… but damn you are asking 3-4 DB’s to single cover our WRs/Ertz all game… or give up massive plays – that is playing with fire. If the game is on the line i could see Bill dialing it up but not as a full game plan.

        • A Roy

          From your keyboard to God’s ears.

        • ACViking

          I get all of this (excellent, BTW) . . .

          But Belichick is a master at taking away the opponent’s strength.

          That may mean letting the Eagles’ run the ball as much as they want . . . but limiting pass-play damage.

          Much the way the Giants shut down the Bills in ’90.

          ‘Cause Pederson — like most NFL coaches — knows you get the lead throwing and keep the lead running.
          ____________

          Mentioned Saban as a way to mention Kelly . . . and then give the list.

          • bill

            I’ll say this, though – Kelly the defensive game planner doesn’t scare me at all.

            I think there are established methods, even in the NFL, of defending the RPO (hence the quick demise of RGIII and Kap). I think most of those require a sacrifice at the back end of the defense. If (and this is a big if, as Foles has been anything but consistent) Foles can hit the deep throws like he did against Minn., I think it negates the “easy” ways of combatting the RPO.

            Might BB be more willing to allow the RPO rather than give up the big play? My guess is he starts by daring Nick to hit the big plays. If Foles burns him once or twice, he switches up and hopes Nick struggles in the RZ enough to keep it close enough for his SigInt to work its magic in the 4th quarter.

          • RobNE

            I really don’t see the scenario where BB stops what he’s doing to call Chip Kelly or Saban to ask them how he should think about his defense for the SB.

          • Fufina

            Patriots DL is mainly big run stuffers so i think you are right, he is going to drop 7 into coverage, probably playing nickle most the game, and let the Eagles run and hope they get enough stops that the Eagles cannot score enough points to beat Brady. Now that may not work – we have seen the Eagles march down the field just running the ball multiple times this year and after a couple of those drives even Belicheck is going to try to stop the run.

            Whatever the scheme the problem the Patriots have in the game is their DL is hopelessly mismatched against our OL, and however you try and to manage that this team and Doug have proven to be flexible enough and able enough to take what you give them.

          • xeynon

            That may mean letting the Eagles’ run the ball as much as they want . . . but limiting pass-play damage.

            If this is Belichick’s game plan, I would be thrilled. If he’s going to let us put together 13 play, 75 yard, 8 minute type drives all game, that means three things:

            (1) Brady gets fewer possessions on which to score;
            (2) Our defensive front stays fresh and is more likely to be able to keep up an intense pass rush for 60 minutes;
            (3) Our OL wears out their (not that great, not that deep) front 7 and we will be in good position to capitalize late if the game is close.

            I think the reasons this game plan worked against the Bills are that (1) that Giants team had a great defense, with a couple of HoF caliber players and a deep front 7, whereas this Patriots team does not, and (2) the K-gun attack did much of its damage with tempo and big plays, and wasn’t really built to play a grind-it-out style of game. As great as he was, Thurman Thomas was a finesse back, not a bruiser, and he was not particularly well-equipped to either wear down a defense or punch in the ball on goal line plays. Forcing the Bills to run the ball was forcing them to play a style they were weren’t comfortable with.

            Neither of those are true with the Eagles. Doug has proven that he is perfectly happy to let his offensive line maul you to death in a street fight if you don’t want to let him use his nifty passing plays (see Chargers game, first Cowboys game, etc.) and Ajayi and Blount are both the kind of runner who will take a severe toll on a defense if it’s forced to tackle them 40+ times. He’s not going to pull a Reid and refuse to adapt if Belichick makes shutting down the passing game his priority.

      • A Roy

        There’s game tape from 2015 where we had success with the RPO against NE…good place to start for both teams.

    • Masked Man

      Nick does that hot read stuff pretty darn well.

      If they try that, they better get there.

      Alshon and Torrey take those to the house on 4 yard slant catches.

  • A_T_G
    • scratcherk

      Sadly, I rooted for NY whenever they played the Patriots, lesser of two evils

      • P_P_K

        Me, too. Those were one-night stands.

        • xeynon

          That’s the kind of one night stand after which you have to douse your private parts with Chlorox and go on a 3 month regiment of thermonuclear antibiotics.

          Some things aren’t worth it man. When the Giants played the Patriots in those SBs, I just pretended I wasn’t a football fan and went and did other things for that day. Places like museums and movie theaters are very uncrowded on SB Sunday. The best part was that when friends of mine who are Giants fans tried to troll me after the game I got to say “oh, did the New York team of pajama clad millionaires win a sportsball game? I wasn’t aware.”

          • P_P_K

            For those two brief periods, the enemy of my enemy was my friend.

    • Masked Man

      The end of the world as they know it…..

  • A Roy

    That Amandola guy looks okay. Wonder who drafted him in the first place.

    • FairOaks

      Nobody

      • A Roy

        I thought AR poached him from Dallas.

        • FairOaks

          He spent 2008 on the Cowboys practice squad as a UDFA. Eagles signed him to their practice squad during the playoffs that year, after the Cowboys season was over. He started 2009 on the Eagles’ practice squad, but was signed by St. Louis to their active roster and he’s played ever since.

          • A Roy

            Oh. I thought Dallas drafted him and was busting on them. Looks like Phila was guilty of impatience, too.

          • FairOaks

            Rams were desperate for warm bodies at WR that year. The Eagles traded them Brandon Gibson a month later too. Amendola worked his way into being a good WR.

            Eagles had DeSean, Maclin, Avant, Kevin Curtis, and Reggie Brown on the roster that year. Not much WR room. Though that was the last year for Brown and Curtis.

          • A Roy

            At that point, AR was playing for now with an average, declining Avant in the slot. Too bad there wasn’t room.

          • FairOaks

            Actually, 2009 was Avant’s fourth year, age 26. He was in his prime. That was Curtis’ last year with us though, and also the last gasp to see if Brown could recover his sophomore form. But we had Jackson and Maclin, so starting WR seemed like it would be set for a while.

  • Eagles4life

    Breaking news! Pats have already won the SB!

    https://youtu.be/fVtYT2itKuE

    • xeynon

      The NFL doesn’t rig games in the Patriots’ favor.

      I think it is fair to question whether they get the superstar treatment from the refs however.

      • ACViking

        I don’t think the data supports the “superstar” contention. Not on defense for sure.

        But there is an interesting numerical coincidence.
        _________________

        On defense, NE was the 9th most penalized team.
        On offense, NE was 7th least penalized team.

        Birds — on defense — 9th least penalized.
        Birds — on offense — 7th most penalized.

        • RobNE

          Pats had one penalty called on them against the Jags.

          • ACViking

            Eagles had 4 . . . 2 totally avoidable
            * Gibson’s FC interference
            * Watkins stupid head butt.

        • xeynon

          I was specifically thinking of the fact that Brady tends to get roughing the passer penalties called if somebody breathes on him and refs generally tend to define “receiver in the vicinity” as “receiver within the same stadium” for him for purposes of intentional grounding. It doesn’t necessarily apply to the whole team. Although I did see what looked like a couple of egregious holds go uncalled late in that Jaguars game.

    • Bert’s Bells

      This would be more convincing if it were presented by Alex Jones.

      • ACViking

        Or Trump himself.
        Of course, that would require Fox & Friends to have run w/ it first.

    • Masked Man

      I liked the Joe Montana quote.

      “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’! And the NFL is tryin’ hard!”

  • Kevin Herman

    I can’t wait for the look on the PATs face when BBD goes for it at mid field on a 4th and a long 1 and gets it. They might not win the game but the Eagles won’t play this game scared like 90% of the Patriots opponents do.

    • Insomniac

      Belichick is the sort of guy that would be more pissed off at Elliot nailing 60 yarders.

  • A_T_G

    I can’t shake the feeling that the Patriots are the 4th best team to make the playoffs. The Brady/Belichick ability to win big games that they shouldn’t scares me. Otherwise, though, I think the Vikings and Saints were both more worrisome opponents. Is that crazy?

    • RC5000

      Gronk, backs (Lewis, White) in flat, screens, Cooks, Amendola is toughest matchup for our D. Our lines vs Vikes lines was in our favor. Our lines vs. Saints lines would’ve been in our favor. Kamara was the only guy on Saints we’d have problems matching up with.

      • xeynon

        You think Amendola is a tough matchup but Michael Thomas isn’t? Wut?

        • RC5000

          Nah I was just thinking about Brady’s guys as a whole and listing them out. I had some job interview calls in the middle of this afternoon. Thomas probably warranted more positive mention.

          • xeynon

            Fair enough.

    • P_P_K

      Nope, you ain’t crazy. For all the reasons Tommy stated, the Eagles are winning this one.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    The 2004 Patriots team had an elite defense. Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Asante Samuel, Teddy Bruschi, and etc. Their playmakers were crap but they had elite OL and Brady. They were to be feared.

    This era of the Patriots is weird. They’re not elite in any way other than QB but they have 2 superbowls in 3 years. They overcame double digit 4th Q defecits in both Super Bowls against good defenses. Their dink and dunk offense is so effective and nearly unstoppable.

    • RC5000

      Gronk isn’t elite? Cooks is one of the top deep threats,no?

      • Donald Kalinowski

        Gronk is always injured and he didn’t even play in Super Bowl 51. Cooks was a new addition. Brady made that come back with James White, Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and etc. Cooks is a new addition.

        • RC5000

          Gronk will likely play you gotta think and Cooks will be playing. Are you just worried about previous Super Bowls?

  • scratcherk

    Whats the status on the Tommy donations? Doesnt someone keep track of those things for Senior Bowl?

    • kajomo

      Sounds like we have a volunteer.

  • Dilleria

    I see that you mentioned the Eagles ranking in points against per game, but you didnt mention the Patriots. They are 5th in points allowed. You can pretty much throw out every other defensive statistic after this one. I think there is way too much blind optimism with this game. It won’t be easy at all and our back 7 vs. Brady will be the key matchup to watch.

    • Fufina

      Patriots 5th in points allowed is a bit fake frankly. They gave up yards and look at the teams they played after week 4 – Tampa, Jets, Falcons, Chargers, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, Bills, Dolphins, Steelers, Bills, Jets. Hardly a murderers row of offenses, and very few that are as dynamic as the Eagles offence.

      We will move the ball and put up 20+ points on the Patriots i am absolutely sure, we have fantastic match ups with them with much better DL, and great slot/TE weapons to exploit their slow LB’s. What worries me is the one thing that is our defensive weakness is short passing games and Brady is the best ever at that, I think he can put up points against the Eagles.

      Belicheck tends to be conservative in the 1st half and will try to establish the run ect, Hopefully we hold Brady to under 10 points in that phase, get a lead at the half, and then the defense/offense can make enough clutch plays in the 4th quarter to keep Brady at bay.

      • Dilleria

        agree with all of that, and hope for the same scenario.

    • RobNE

      I haven’t seen anyone be blindly optimistic.

      • Dilleria

        It has alot to do with the “patriots defense is not good” and “we can get pressure on Brady” talk. I do see alot of cautious optimism too, but confidence seems to be a little over the top. Maybe im just a negative nancy, but I think this will be our toughest challenge we’ve had all year.

        Tired of hearing about the 29th ranked defense for yards and the 31rst rushing defense…there are other stats that make these useless.

        • xeynon

          PPG is also a flawed stat. When you start off the year with six guaranteed games a year against Tyrod Taylor, Josh McCown/Bryce Petty, and Jay Cutler, it’s going to skew the values there.

          Yards per game are not the only metric by which the Patriots’ defense has struggled – they also rate poorly by DVOA, which is a stat that actually corrects for opposition strength. They are objectively not a very good defense. Certainly not as good as those of the Vikings or Falcons, whom the Eagles already beat. All this dovetails with what we know about some of their players. Patrick Chung is not good in pass coverage. Their linebackers are slow. They don’t have any elite pass rushers.

          Nobody here is blindly optimistic. Of course the Eagles can lose this game. But if you look at this Patriots defense and find it more intimidating than the Vikings’ is you’re not paying attention.

          • Dilleria

            I only find it more intimidating because of how everyone is underestimating BB being able to scheme it to good health (the defense).

            Let’s remind ourselves of how little we thought of the Seahawks defense this year…they owned us

          • xeynon

            Belichick is a good coach. He’s not a sorcerer. He’s not going to make the guys the Patriots have who are bad players suddenly good. He will scheme to hide them, and try to force the Eagles to do thing that don’t expose their weaknesses, but the Eagles’ offense is tough to stop because it can do everything pretty well and Doug will happily switch to attacking whatever weakness a defense opens up with its approach. Play soft coverages and he will throw short stuff all day. Bring a safety up in the box and he will start throwing deep. Drop guys back in coverage and he will run the ball down your throat. Sell out to rush the passer and he will rip you apart with screen passes.

            Our coach is pretty damn good too. His offense just lit up the best defense in the league for 31 points, 450 yards, and 10/14 3rd down conversions, and it wasn’t a fluke. The Eagles moved the ball methodically against the Vikings and they hit on big plays. They beat them with the pass and the run. They schemed guys open against every coverage Zimmer threw at them, were prepared for the blitzes, and played off of tendencies they knew the Vikings would key on to open up opportunities. I’m not saying he’s going to outcoach Belichick, but it’s not like the Patriots are the only team in this game coached by somebody who knows what he’s doing.

          • Dilleria

            I like to think of this like this. Our offense should be able to put up points, but I Patriots could control time of possession with dink and dunk. With that, we might never find a rhythm. This a VERY possible scenario. I bleed green and don’t want that to be the scenario, but Im trying to be objective.

            Also, what do you think our defense would rank if we had an average Defensive Line? I like to think that with Brady getting rid of the ball fast, that our D-line won’t have much impact. We have to depend on our back 7 to make an impact, which usually only happpens when our front 4 disrupts. This, again, is very likely. I dont want it to be, but something to think about.

            This could be the first time our opponent is not playing “checkers” all year. The Chiefs and Seahawks did alright, but Seahawks was more self-inflicted than anything else and the Chiefs game was because we were missing starters in the secondary and the replacements missed critical tackles.

          • xeynon

            I think you’re severely underrating not only Reid and Carroll but also guys like McVay, Zimmer, and Rivera by calling them checkers players. These are all very accomplished coaches who have built very successful teams, and Pederson looked equal or superior to all of them (as you say the Seahawks loss was more on lack of execution/mistakes by the players than play calling). Pederson has also turned things up a notch in the playoffs by breaking out plays, formations, and concepts the team hasn’t used previously and then building on them by calling follow-on plays which take advantage of opponent adjustments to them (e.g., after the Falcons got burned on the jet sweep to Agholor, he knew the Vikings would be waiting for it, and called a play action pass to Ertz out of the same formation on a critical 3rd down, which was wide open because the Vikings linebackers bit so hard on the sweep action). That is great coaching. Doug Pederson has already proven himself to be a great coach. If you lose as many top shelf players as the Eagles have this year, including your franchise QB, and you dominate the second best team in your conference to get to the SB with your backup anyway, you are a great coach. Period.

            Belichick is also a great coach, one of the greatest of all time. There’s no question he’s a grandmaster chess player. But you’re overrating the size of the gap between him and the other coaches in this league. As great as he is, there’s still a good chance he’s not even in this SB if Doug Marrone doesn’t turtle up too early last week. I don’t think there’s any chance we blow this Patriots team out unless something crazy like a Brady injury happens. But we absolutely can win the game.

            The question about where our defense would rank if we had an average defensive line is kind of irrelevant, because we don’t have an average defensive line, we have an elite one. Yes, the Pats can and will scheme to take them out of the game by relying on quick drops and short throws, but that is not going to generate big plays if our defense executes their assignments. People forget the Giants only scored all those points against us because bad tackling and/or uncalled interference penalties allowed them to turn short gains into long TDs. If our defense executes we will make the Patriots work for their points if they choose to use this approach.

          • Dilleria

            I definitely think we can win too, I think we’ll have to work for it though…I think it will be our toughest match this year.

            As far as the “Checkers” comment I made. I was watching UFC the other night and one of the fighters made a really good comment that made perfect sense. He said you have to understand that there are multiple levels to the game and in order to win, you have to be good at those levels.

            McVay, Reid (especially) and Rivera don’t have levels…McVay one tricked it with his “let me tell you while your lined up” approach. Didnt work in the playoffs. Reid…and I really dont need to say it but I will…is all about screens and passing. If it doesnt work, he loses. Rivera understands defense very well, but his offense is far too often determined by whether Cam is “bipolar happy” or “bipolar sad”.

            Zimmer I do think is a better coach than those…he lost his starting RB and starting QB (just like we did) and had to fix a dismal offensive line in one year (impossible).

            Belichick and Brady are robotic. They scheme according to the team they are playing. Their strategy changes from week to week and not just by a little, but profoundly. That’s what worries me.

            The good thing is, Doug has proven to be a great coach as well and has done the same almost week to week. I think we can win, but it will be a chess match the entire time. In the 4th it will be knight and queen vs. knight and queen. Here’s hoping the Eagles get the better of that matchup! Go Eagles!

    • kajomo

      If you use logic like that, we just beat the pants off of the #1 team in points allowed. I guess we’ll do even better against the pats.

      I think their inability to shut down our running game is going to be huge. We can have long drives and chew up clock. Keep brady off the field and our defense fresh. I think that will be the key to the game

      • Dilleria

        We also played a perfect game against that #1 team. Im hoping we can repeat, but lightning typically does not strike twice in the same spot.

        • kajomo

          Match ups matter. Brady can carve up the best of defenses, but struggles when teams generate pressure. Especially pressure up the
          middle. We can do that.

          We are also excellent in the RZ. So for a team that allows yards but not points we may have the matchups that turns those yards into points.

          Additionally we have allowed 8.5 ppg in the playoffs. That Patriots have allowed 17 ppg in their 2 playoff games. I would argue that the Falcons and Vikings are better offenses than the Titans and Jags.

          They may need to play a perfect game to out score us.

          • Dilleria

            I mentioned that our back 7 vs. Brady is the key matchup. That is because of Brady’s quick release. Don’t forget what Aaron Rodgers did to us last year and what Sh-Eli did this year. Brady can do the same thing and might do it way better than both.

            If he does this, it removes our D-line from the game…

            I am a die hard Eagles fan, but I’m trying to look at this objectively.

          • xeynon

            We get that you’re trying to be objective. So are we. We all get that the Patriots’ short passing game could be tough to defend and that they could have success moving the ball against us with it.

            The thing is, that doesn’t necessarily equate to the Patriots winning the game. The reasons the Giants scored 53 combined points against us in those two games were that (1) we had an uncalled pick play turn a short pass into a long TD and (2) we had three separate short passing plays turned into long touchdowns by shoddy tackling in our secondary over the course of the two games. If those things don’t happen, Eli dinks and dunks his way to less than 20 points in both games. It’s hard to score a ton of points with that game plan unless the defense screws up, and counting on the defense to screw up isn’t a plan. It could happen, but it’s not a sure thing it happens against the Patriots just because it happened against the Giants. Other teams have tried to beat us with slants and double moves based off of tape from those games and we’ve shut it down.

            Just because the defensive line isn’t getting sacks/turnovers does not mean they’ve been “removed from the game” – if they’re forcing the opponent into a conservative, low expected payout offensive approach, they’re affecting the game even if it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.

          • kajomo

            I just think the eagles will be fully prepared for the short passing attack. They may be playing their best defensive football of the year right now. You aren’t crazy to be concerned by it, but I think this team will be ready for it.

  • ACViking

    Earlier today —

    A commenter mocked Tommy pretty hard for writing that the Eagles’ were only a handful of plays away from having a winning record in 2016.

    Ironic . . . because the Eagles’ 2016 positive point differential shows:
    (i) Tommy’s most likely right, and (ii) the Eagles almost certainly were going to be a playoff team in 2017.
    __________________

    Last December, at Eagles Rewind, Patrick Causey wrote an excellent article explaining the predictive value of a team’s “positive point differential.”
    https://eaglesrewind.com/2016/12/21/eagles-are-not-far-off-from-competing-for-playoffs/

    The take away was this:

    (1) In the past 11 years, only 7 teams out of 352 “team seasons” had a losing record but a positive point differential. The 2016 Eagles became #7.

    The following season, 6 of those 7 teams — including the ’17 Birds — went to the playoffs (the exception, 2012 ‘Phins w/ a rookie QB, but they did increase their win total).

    (2) The Eagles’ 2016 positive point differential predicted 2 more wins than the team actually had.
    ________________

    NOTE: The last Eagles team to have a losing record but a positive point differential was the 1977 Birds (5-9 on the season).

    The next year, 1978, the Vermeil-led Eagles went to the playoffs — for the first time in 18 years — with a 9-7 record.

    So maybe the Birds’ 2017 playoff run wasn’t a surprise after all.

    • Masked Man

      Anybody who watched the games last year should remember that about 4-5 plays snatched a couple victories from their hands in close games.

      There was a bad Ryan Mathews fumble in Detroit that let the game slip away. There was a bad Wendell Smallwood fumble, that cost a game. I can’t remember which game. Maybe that’s because it was more than one fumble in more than one game. Somebody refresh my memory…

      But that’s at least two games which would have made 7-9 a 9-7 swing. And remember the Cowboys game at Dallas that we lost and we should have won? That’s just based on RB fumbles. Don’t forget all those dropped passes!

      So 9-7 would only have needed a two game swing. A 10-6 record could have happened with a few more solid receptions last year.

      • John Luck Pickerd

        Wow, I had the Smallwood fumble blocked out of my memory but indeed that led to the Cowboys (in Jerry World) momentum swing while we were winning 23-13 in that game with 11 and change in the 4th. Those two fumbles were devastating, the team might have gone 9-7 in hindsight.

    • Someguy77

      This was one of the reasons I figured they would 9 or 10 games this year (I had 9 and not making the playoffs).

      Things I underestimated is how quickly Wentz would become a Top 5 QB and the strength of the DL. Hitting on nearly every personnel decision last offseason except Pumphrey helped too.

  • Masked Man

    Former Coach and Broadcaster Tony Dungy is predicting an Eagles win once again, here at this Philly Dot Com link:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/nbc-tony-dungy-eagles-patriots-super-bowl-chip-kelly-fletcher-cox-super-bowl-bets-20180125.html

    Tony Dungy’s analysis of the Eagles is interesting. Remember that, before the
    Atlanta game, it was Dungy who told Philly fans to “relax” and promised
    them they would hosting the NFC Championship Game in Philly.

    Well that’s what happened. So for him to be this optimistic now is interesting. He seems to be especially focused on how the Jaguars played the Patriots and built that late lead before they lost in the 4th quarter.

    Our defense is very stout late in big games and especially near the goal line. And our head coach seems to be about as aggressive and tough-minded as they come.

    So it seems possible that the Eagles could play as well as Jacksonville did for three quarters, and then not play as badly as the Jags did during the 4th, and
    go on to win the game.

    We’ll see. Tony’s take has held up so far. Go Eagles!

    • RobNE

      I can[‘t read it, locked out. What’s his reasoning?

      • Masked Man

        1) Eagles will play it better than the Jags for 3 quarters.
        2) Doug P. will not let up like Marrone and stay aggressive.
        3) Therefore no 4th quarter collapse.

  • Masked Man

    It’s a big game.
    We’re going to have to play the game and see.
    Heh heh heh heh.

  • quiyaomah

    “Doug Pederson ain’t Doug Marrone.

    One of them is Big Balls Doug and the other one is Doug Marrone.

    One of them is in the Super Bowl. The other one is Doug Marrone.”
    Awesome….

  • Ryan Rambo
  • A_T_G

    Question for the group:

    Belichick is known for designing a defensive gameplay to take away the opponent’s best offensive weapon and make the others beat them.

    Who would that be on the Eagles? Jeffrey? Ajayi? Ertz?

    How do the Eagles counter?

    • bill

      I think he’s likely to try to degrade Foles’s performance – as others have noted, the RPO is an attractive target to eliminate from Foles’s arsenal.

      If that’s not the plan, then I would guess it’s Ertz. But clearly, this is a team that doesn’t just do one thing offensively. It’s pretty consistently spread the ball around and been dangerous in multiple ways. There’s no one easy target.

      • wee2424

        As long as we can run the ball the RPOs will work. On paper with the backs we have we should be able to run the ball on this D.

    • Fufina

      I think the thing that worries Belicheck is the Eagles OL. We have a bunch of weapons but Doug’s offense really does not leverage any of them in particular except the OL. If you take away Jeffery he won’t throw at Jeffery, same with Ertz, he will get it done with Agholor and our RB’s instead.

      The difference making unit is the OL. When they have been hot and won their match ups they have destroyed teams this year – all our best offensive performances had good OL showings. Doug hates leaving people in to block other than an RB, he wants things spread out so we can run or pass and apply the entire playbook.

      How Bill takes our OL away i don’t know – maybe with crazy stunts and formations to disrupt our chemistry?

      • wee2424

        Target Big V with stunts, and disguise the blitz very well.

        • Bert’s Bells

          Yup. Foles hasn’t shown himself to be great with pre-snap reads and calling out blitzes. Kelce’s probably working full time in the film room on that this week.

          I have faith in Doug that he’s preparing for just this thing.

          • anon

            That’s why you have run pass option don’t need to pre snap read. Though after Vikings game I have nothing bad to say about nick

          • Bert’s Bells

            100%

        • xeynon

          Teams have tried doing that. Big V is getting much better at recognizing them and not being fooled (having a capable veteran like Wisniewski to his left rather than a liability like Warmack or Seumalo doesn’t hurt). I don’t think this is as big a weakness as it was earlier in the season.

          The left side of the Eagles’ OL has also started punishing people in the running game nearly as much as the right side (check out some of those crushing blocks they made on Griffen and Tom Johnson last week) so if the Pats want to run stunts there we can also have some fun blowing them up with RPOs directly at them.

      • A_T_G

        This was the conclusion I reached as well. I think that is good for us. Belichick loves to take away the superstar, but don’t rely on a superstar. That leaves blitzing, which is a risky strategy.

      • wee2424

        You are 100% correct.

      • Dragon_Eagle

        yeah, he could dust off his videotape of how our own Jim Johnson’s creative blitz packages to fluster Foles and the OL. its risky, but I’ve got to think he’s going to do everything to get into Nick’s head early and make him hesitant.

        That might mean, for example, corner blitzes with DEs dropping into coverage to take away slants and the like.

    • Dragon_Eagle

      Been pondering that, too. But the Eagles greatest offensive strength is the OL in my opinion. How do you game plan to take away the OL?

      • A_T_G

        Cheating. Break away cleats, maybe?

      • Insomniac

        A five star buffet.

    • RobNE

      I think this is a remnant from the legend of the Bills game. His last 15 SB’s have been won b/c the offense could not be stopped. do you look at Atlanta or Seattle SB’s and think oh the Pats took (??) away? I don’t think so. Of course he makes you beat them, and is a defensive genius but if you are going to beat the Pats, you need to stop their 4 yard slants, (illegal) rub plays etc. that happen in 1.3 seconds. He doesn’t have the Giants (from the Bills SB) or the old Pats’ defenses anymore.

    • Dave
      • xeynon

        I like the fact that he thinks that the blatant OPI that set up the long catch and run by Shepard in the second game was a “legal pick”.

        I have no doubt that the Patriots will attempt to duplicate the Giants’ game plan. That only makes sense. I expect Schwartz knows quite well what the weaknesses of his defense are and will anticipate that. Should be a good chess match.

        • sonofdman

          Every game since the second Giants game, our opponent was going to mimic the Giants’ game plan and use quick passes, rub routes, and slant-n-goes to beat our defense. It is weird to me that the prevailing opinion of our defense is based only on that one bad game. Schwartz has done a great job since then of shutting it down.

          That being said, if any QB (other than Eli) can kill us with that kind of game plan, it is Brady.

      • A_T_G

        Good article, but it doesn’t talk at all about what the Pats will do on defense, does it?

        • Dave

          None of the talking heads on TV seem to want to discuss the Pats defense either…unless it’s to talk about how they were very good after week 4 and didn’t have to face many high-ranked offensive attacks.

          If good Nick shows up, I could see our offense scoring lots of points against the 31st ranked DVOA defense.

    • xeynon

      Who would that be on the Eagles? Jeffrey? Ajayi? Ertz?

      The answer to your question – which is what makes the Eagles so difficult to defend – is “whoever is best positioned to exploit the weakness in the defense you’re playing”.

      The Eagles have a balanced offense with good players in every position group and they can hurt you multiple ways. Short of an all-time great defense, there’s no foolproof way to shut a team like that down.

      • A_T_G

        I agree.

        So what are we going to see from the Pats?

        • xeynon

          If I had to guess, I’d say they start by bringing the safeties up to shut down the running game/RPO stuff and leave their CBs to deal with Jeffery and Smith one-on-one, probably mixed with some exotic blitz looks. If the OL holds up and Foles can duplicate his success going deep to Jeffery and Smith from last week, that approach won’t work. If they don’t and/or he can’t, it will.

          Regardless, I have confidence in Pederson’s ability to recognize what is happening and adjust. I think people are so awed by Belichick that they’re falling to appreciate that our own coach is pretty damn good.

          • A_T_G

            I think you are right, on all counts.

            I wonder: playing in the Viking’s home and the history and all that, it would seem fitting if after the Eagles win the gave Bill a lit torch and he ceremonially passed it to Doug at midfield.

    • unhinged

      Granted Jacksonville is a pretty easy egg for Bellichick to crack, with a beastly running game and not much else, but I think BB will take a similar tack vs Eagles. If Doug calls runs that get stuffed at the line, the passing game becomes more manageable to defend. The RPO adds a wrinkle, and BB will spend the next week dissecting and trouble-shooting Doug’s version. One thing I think Patriots do really well is show a formation that leaves no clear mismatch for the QB. This may delay Nick’s throw for a second, and that will test our protection. This is a heavyweight bout coming up.

  • Someguy77

    Too bad there is a 2 week bye again because it really helps the Patriots.

    Eagles won’t get back any significant player back while it gives an old guy 2 weeks to rest (Brady) and greatly increases the chances Gronk will play.

    If the Eagles played this Sunday, I would like their chances more (say 55/45 or 60/40) whereas I think it is a tossup the following Sunday.

  • Someguy77

    I don’t see the many tough choices for the Eagles this offseason – no reason to bring back Sproles (age & injury) or Smith (performance and Hollins can replace him or a similiar FA).

    Long is a no brainer at $2M given leadership and production. Peters only comes back at a reworked deal with a lower number.

    Kendricks will be back especially given his year and possibility Bradham goes elsewhere.

    Other missed include Curry (nice bounce back year but his number is too high given overall production) and Celek (move story and a great vet but he is largely done)

    • Bert’s Bells

      Agree with all of this -though the fan in me wants Sproles, JP, Curry and Celek to stick around at any cost -it’s completely unrealistic to expect that.

    • kajomo

      Only thing I disagree with is JP. You can’t cut him until he pssses a physical which should be well after the FA window opens. Since we cannot use his $$$ to upgrade the roster I think he sticks around for another year. I really doubt they make him take a pay cut after giving him a new contract just last year. He is Lurie’s boy after all.

      • Bert’s Bells

        Good point. Hadn’t thought of that.

      • ACViking

        Seems that if JP’s gonna be cut . . .

        That would be distasteful on both sides.

        Why not have him retire. No need to wait.

        • sonofdman

          Lurie has basically already said that he wants JP to retire as an Eagle. He said that he thinks of JP similarly to Dawkins and he regrets how the end of Dawkins’ time here went down. We are not going to cut JP for cap savings.

          • Dave

            I think if JP wants to come back, he would only do so if he was confident he could still play at a high level. I think the team would allow him to return if he desired. At 36, I still think he would be an upgrade over Vaitai.

          • xeynon

            I’m sure they’ll let him return, because it would be bad player relations not to.

            I’m not sure that, at age 36 and coming off a serious knee injury, the size of the upgrade he’d represent over Big V (who has improved significantly the more he’s played and who could still get better) would be commensurate to the massive disparity in their salaries/cap numbers, but they’d have to let him continue playing. He’s given his heart and soul to this franchise.

          • Someguy77

            Cutting Dawkins was absolutely the right business move and one from a competitive standpoint too

            He played great his first year in Denver, got hurt 3/4 of the way through the season, and was a non-factor the rest of the way. Dawkins was largely a liability his 2nd and 3rd years in Denver especially in pass coverage.

            The problem was finding an adequate starter to replace him.

            Banner got heavily criticized for moving on from Eagles’ vets but he was right almost every time.

            NFL is not a sentimental league.

          • sonofdman

            I agreed with not resigning Dawkins at the time (and I love Dawk) because Denver signed him to a ridiculous contract. This isn’t about my opinion. Lurie has said in recent years that he thinks a Peters as an all time Eagle great like Dawkins and he regrets how the situation played out with Dawkins.

          • Dave

            Dawks situation was sort of crazy. His salary went from $3M per year from the Eagles to $4.5M per year ($9M guaranteed for 2 years) to go to Denver at 36 years old.

            If Peters was a free agent and somebody offered him $30M guaranteed for 2 years, Lurie would let him walk too.

          • Mac

            But we might never know how close the deal was before Dawk started shopping.

        • jshort

          I believe JP would be happy to retire with a brand new ring on his finger.

          • or____

            I believe he might want 2, with significant more participation during the second… that could be a factor.

          • xeynon

            He won’t have played in the game though. I would expect that would be bittersweet at best for him.

        • or____

          What does “have him retire” mean? I love him with all my might just like any smart fan, but let’s be real – a lot relies on what JP decides/wants to do himself. He’s the only one who can choose retirement, he’s the only one who can decide how much he has left/how much he can recover from injury and still play well.

          His voluntary decisions really factor significantly into all of this. It’s very dynamic…

          • Insomniac

            JP pulls a Favre.

          • or____

            Could be… Somewhat

    • Sean E

      It’s not totally mandatory, but they also need to lock up BG for a while. He’s due in 2019

    • A_T_G

      I’ll echo the JP being untouchable sentiment. No way the guy who coached up his replacement, calling him on the sidelines during games gets cut in the offseason to save some cap space.

      I also am less sure about Burton than the conventional wisdom. Howie rarely lets a guy go who contributes. TE i hardly a position where he is going to be offered 5M per year. Unless he gets some really crazy offer, I think we might be able to bring him back. (On the other hand, Logan led to Jernigan. Maybe Burton leads to Brown?)

      Bradham is the one that has me nervous.

  • Masked Man

    Seems like Belichick often plays to that winning formula: Keep the game close enough and let Tommy and the offense cut loose in the 4th quarter to steal the win.

    So I’m hoping that the Eagles can first build the big lead. And then continue to make big plays and sustain drives with aggressive play calling down the stretch. Keep Bill and Tom from climbing back in it late.

    Easier said than done, but Jacksonville built a big lead. Then suddenly they were back on their heels on offense and defense in the 4th.

    • Dave

      I would imagine if Belichick had his way, his team would be up by a few touchdowns at halftime instead of relying on other coaches turning conservative;-)

      I have little doubt if the Eagles generate a lead at halftime, Doug will not let his foot off the pedal.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      Why not just let the offense cut loose from the beginning? NE had a 19 point deficit in the 4th quarter and was aided by a lot of breaks.

  • bill

    This is an interesting outside take that confirms what many on here are saying:

    https://www.1500espn.com/vikings-2/2018/01/history-effort-nope-eagles-o-line-scheme-beat-vikings/

    • Dave

      Good stuff

    • RobNE

      I’d pay money to read another article like that 2 weeks from now

    • xeynon

      That’s one of the first articles I’ve read by a fan/commentator for another team that actually tips its cap to the Eagles and gives Pederson his due.

      • RobNE

        my “friends” here emailed me and said “Eagles suck” and then said did the Vikings just not show up?

        Yeah maybe we just played well and were the better team that day.

        • xeynon

          Just tell your friends they’re typical New England frontrunners who probably didn’t even realize a sport such as football existed when the Patriots sucked and don’t know what they’re talking about. 😉

          Actually, to me, the fact that New England fans are so g-ddamned arrogant and entitled, and seem universally inclined to underestimate Pederson/Foles/Schwartz/etc., is kind of a positive. I’m keeping my mouth shut for now, but if the Eagles pull this off, I plan on unloading with both barrels against the obnoxious Pats fans I know.

          • P_P_K

            I live in the heart of Pats country and these fans are spoiled rotten. For years, I’ve loyally worn by Eagles gear around but was never seen as a threat to their evil empire. Now, the sword has been unsheathed. I am telling one and all the Eagles are going to beat the snot out of Brady and his playmates.
            When the Eagle win, I am going to strut like a rooster.

          • xeynon

            They are going to be a miserable lot when Brady retires and Belichick leaves and they realize that “the Patriot Way” doesn’t mean crap when you no longer have two of the best of all time in the two most important jobs in an organization.

          • P_P_K

            They’re a miserable lot now.
            But I know what you mean.

  • anon

    Torrey Smith is not a tough decision. Hopefully jp gets a ring and rides into the sunset – not sure if adding years to lower the cap hit makes sense. 40 coming back from a serious injury?

    • Dave

      “40 coming back from a serious injury?”

      Are you talking about Peters? He just turned 36 this week.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      Cutting JP only saves about $5 million in cap. Who are they going to get for that price? I’d rather just keep him.

    • Ark87

      On JP- if he wants to be an Eagle next year, he’s going to be an Eagle, not that you suggested otherwise. He is so tight with Lurie, to a surprising level (and just universally beloved by the organization).

      And I’m ok with that. However long he wants to do it, he’s the only true Eagles HoFer from his era and has such an outsized influence on the team, just do right by JP as much as possible as far as I’m concerned.

      • Bert’s Bells

        I was doubter because of his age, but he was playing at such a high level this year that it pretty much demands he be given a shot next season.

        • Ark87

          Yeah, he’s one of those cases of a guy being such a freak of nature, that even when he slows down to everyone else’s speed, he has the benefit of staggering amount of experience and polish. If the injury doesn’t put him down for good, he’s a more than viable LT.

          I get people being eager to transition to the future, clear that cap figure or w/e, then go forward with some combo of Lane and Vaitai. But I’m not actually sold on Vaitai yet. I’d like to see a pretty high draft pick going into tackle pretty soon, and see some competition between them and Vaitai. Vaitai is fine, but I’m looking for a stud to book-end with lane for the next decade.

          But I’m biased, I’m a gigantic JP fan. Don’t do JP dirty!

          • xeynon

            Competition is always good, and I’m on record as saying that if a top OT prospect is available when the Eagles pick they should take him if he’s BPA.

            I have to say I’ve been very pleased by Vaitai’s development over the course of this season though. His technique as both a run blocker and a pass blocker has improved, and he’s no longer getting fooled by some of the stunts, twists, and blitz adjustments that gave him problems when he first started playing. Everson Griffen is a talented, crafty veteran pass rusher, and Vaitai shut him down in the game last week – sometimes they gave him help, but he was left to single block quite a bit as well and Griffen never came close to making an impact as a pass rusher. Big V was also delivering some crushing blocks in the running game – there was one play where he just obliterated Tom Johnson on a down block and blew him five yards off the ball. This a week after he pancaked the Falcons DE last week.

            Basically, there are more and more plays on which he looks like a legitimately good starting OT and not just a guy who’s an adequate fill-in. If he continues to improve like this I think he can be the LT of the future.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    I would watch XFL games is Kaep, Manziel, TO, and Chad Johnson were in it.

  • Sean E

    This is sure to get you amped up:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyWGHDYumQ8

    BG and Cox ….

    • Dude

      I was checking the scores in every clip. It’s amazing to see how those plays effected the game.

  • meteorologist
    • A_T_G

      Wow. They average allowing a full yard gained BEFORE a defender closes within a yard of the runner? With Ajayi and Blount’s ability to gain yards after contact, giving them a yard and a head of steam before you even get close is not going to turn out well.

      • meteorologist

        In my mind I’m imagining the offensive line reestablishing the line of scrimmage 1 yard forward every play (though that could be a wrong way to describe it). Easy pickings

        • Ark87

          I’m also wondering if this is the result of be so damn awful against the pass early in the year, maybe the adjustments they made to somewhat correct that hurt their run defense? I haven’t really seen anyone dissect New England’s defense yet.

    • Bert’s Bells

      Look at the Browns! WTF?

      • meteorologist

        Yeah they were actually really good against the run this year lol. I remember that being pointed out before

  • meteorologist

    PFF

    the turnaround of Jason Kelce at center has been remarkable. Coming off a year that saw him earn his worst grade in five seasons, he hasn’t just got back to his previous high level of play, but he has actually exceeded it and had a career year in the middle of the line. His run-blocking grade in particular was phenomenal – a 97.9 mark that wasn’t just the best run-blocking grade at center this season but also the best run-blocking grade at any position this year. In fact, it edged Evan Mathis back in 2013 for the best run-blocking seasonal grade we have ever given at any position in over a dozen years of grading.

    • xeynon

      It’s remarkable what a difference being healthy can make.

      When he’s physically sound, Kelce is a great player. He makes blocks no other C in the league can.

      • Ark87

        I think Stout has also done an excellent job as the “run-game coordinator”. Whatever criticisms you can have of Stout’s player development (and love affair with Chance Warmack), it’s funny how obvious it seems now to have the O-line coach tailor a run-blocking scheme to a set of players only he can know as well as he does. His use of Kelce and his strengths is absolutely is masterful.

        I’m working on a post about how the NFL is becoming a post-position label league. Like, we don’t have a safety, we have a Malcolm Jenkins. We won’t be able to draft another Malcolm Jenkins when he’s gone, and the defense will necessarilly have to change when that happens. Tom Brady and Nick Foles don’t play the same position when you talk about the role they have in their offenses. And Jason Kelce has some issues as a center. But he is an absolutely devastating Jason Kelce. The NFL, more than ever, is a players league and it’s more and more coaching is about getting every last drop of juice out of the abilities on your roster than dreaming up a scheme and then finding guys to fit it.

        • Fufina

          Dunno about a lack of player development, the work he has done with Big V has been sensational. Taking a 5th round pick and turning him into a solid starting LT in 2 years is some great work in my opinion.

          Seumalo has struggled this year in a big way, but i wonder if that is on Stout or if it is more an issue with Seumalo off the field or some kind of injury holding him back.

          • xeynon

            Was just going to say this.

            So far Stoutland has been given only two young OL to work with. Seumalo got off to a promising start and has since regressed to the point of being a liability. Vaitai got off to a dubious start and has since improved to the point of being a capable starter.

            So to the extent Stout is responsible for player development, he’s batting .500. Two guys is a very tiny sample size, but my guess is that’s probably not any worse than average for an NFL line coach. We’re likely to be drafting at least one new OL next year so we’ll have a better idea at this time next year in all likelihood.

          • Ark87

            He was here from the get go with Lane too right? So that’s been an success. Lane is a case of a dude with incredible talent but only like 2 years of experience at tackle, so he was incredibly raw. Lane got to where we wanted him so kudos on that.

            But yeah, we had the absolute drought of OL picks during that time, so it’s just one of those things I don’t think there’s enough that you can definitively tilt too far either way yet.

          • xeynon

            True, Lane is a hit also. But to continue the metaphor, that was a batting practice fastball – you’d have to be inept not to knock it out of the park. Lane is such an elite athlete for the position that it would be hard not to develop him into a good player as long as he worked at it and stayed healthy.

          • Insomniac

            OL when Lane was drafted

            Todd Herresman (Starter from a small school)
            Jason Kelce (Pro Bowler)
            Evan Mathis (PFF’s Darling/AP/Pro Bowler)
            JP (HoF)

            That is an amazing situation to come into, especially since these guys aren’t selfish at all.

            From Lane himself in his player tribune:

            “Those early years I leaned on guys like Evan, JP and especially Todd Herremans. I played next to Todd, him at guard and me at tackle, and if I was a blind guy early in my career, he was my Seeing Eye dog. He knew the answer to every question, every call, every play — and he was entirely willing to pass on his knowledge. Just a true professional. Over time, all the vets helped me grow. They helped build me to this point in my career, where I feel ready to step in as a leader for this franchise.”

          • Ark87

            I never said lack of. I’m literally not sure one way or another. Disappointed by him being so in love with Chance Warmack and being such a dud. Then in contrast, Seumalo looked so promising and he got given up on very quickly. But obviously very little is know publicly. Then Wiz is freaking fantastic, so Kudos. And he got Vaitai to step up into JP’s shoes, which is huge considering last year. Not sold on Vaitai as a permanent fixture, but excellent excellent work as a backup.

            So again, Kudos to him for the 5 we got, but I got a sneaking suspicion the situation behind our starting 5 is tragic (I really hope they didn’t give up on Seumalo). Anway, I made the concession because plenty of folks were unhappy with him at one point.

          • xeynon

            I’m wondering if Seumalo’s problem isn’t that he was playing out of position this season. He was an All-American C in college and started games at every position except LG in college. He played pretty well as a rookie at RG and RT. Perhaps he’s just not cut out to play LG?

          • Ark87

            Yeah I’m hoping so, hopefully we can salvage him, he looked so promising last year. And we could definitely use a hit in the draft in an era we just didn’t draft many OL.

          • Guy Media

            Great point.

          • Sean E

            People say Left vs. Right is a bigger difference than people realize, and that some people just are meant for one side more than the other.

          • Dave

            From what I can gather, Semaulo’s problem seems to be about confidence as he seemed to play well as a rookie. Doug may want to have him and Mills be roommates on the road. Maybe Jalen’s swagger will rub off on Sem.

            Warmack is still living off his college resume.

        • A Roy

          That works for coaches who don’t have a ‘system’ and expect players to conform to that ideal. And that’s significantly more coaches than CK..

    • Dave

      He made me eat crow, that’s for sure.

      • Guy Media

        Not really; he played like ass last year and was called out over it. He played great this year, but that doesn’t erase appropriate flaming of him for last year.

        • or____

          You’re conveniently leaving out the part about the ever implicit aspect that “he sucks or lost it” statements, as opposed to “he’s playing poorly, needs to improve” type statements.

          Not talking about you, but in general there’s a lot of crow to eat for many along these lines (Vaitai, Agholor, Foles, PRob, Mills, Kendricks, Curry, Ertz…)

          • Guy Media

            In full disclosure:

            I was totally saying “he sucks”, as it was apt. Kelce did a really nice job saying how bad he sucked last year and needed to get back to doing the fundamental things properly in an interview this year. I really appreciated him taking ownership of really poor play and working hard to improve.

            And you can also color me critical of Curry (sacks vs. cap number) and Kendricks (cap # vs. snaps played) once we get into the offseason.

            Agholor, from a financial standpoint, would have been stupid to cut. So I wasn’t leading any charges to remove him from the roster.

            I din’t waste any time complaining about Blount or Robinson over preseason because that isn’t really a big deal for veteran players.

            The anti Foles stuff seemed stupid to me.

            I never got the complaining about Big V or Mills either, they were rookies asked to play more snaps than ideal and both competed hard.

            But going into next season, I’ll probably be looking for money back (via reduction, trade, or cut) from
            – Curry
            – Kendricks
            – Celek
            – Torrey Smith
            – Foles

      • P_P_K

        Same here.

  • Green Goblin Swag

    When I’m feeling optimistic :

    If the Eagles were up by 24 in the 4th do I think any team is coming back?(NO)

    People seem to forget that last year they almost lost to ATL and really should have. I expect them to abandon the run and use passes to the HB a lot

  • DJH

    Pats fans have started to post on Philly websites. Their arrogance is complete and overwhelming. Of course, it comes from years of winning and consistent play/performance from the team in big games, but repugnant nonetheless.

    • Mac

      Meh. I’d rather eat at Paesano’s. Now that’s a sandwich worth blogging about on sports related websites.

    • xeynon

      I don’t get this. They’ve got a great team. Shouldn’t they just be enjoying it instead of sh-t talking fans of a team that’s much less accomplished is not even really a rival of theirs?

      Sad.

    • Guy Media

      They need some moral victories because they’re certain to end up out punched and out numbered in any altercations in Minnesota.

    • Masked Man

      Tweak ’em and block ’em. I tell ’em to eat beans. Then I block ’em.

  • Sean E

    Hey guys, remember Smallwood?

    • Mac

      His name did not fit the Meta of this team; therefore, adios!

      • Sean E

        Wow.

        • Masked Man

          You guys are comical, man. Hahahahaha.

      • Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard

        Bill Balls Doug and Smallwood… it’s just too weird to work. Understand why he’s inactive now.

    • Guy Media

      I do. And I’ll remember to laugh when he and Pump are running neck and neck for fan ire in camp next summer.

    • Insomniac

      He’s the only reason why I can still remember Pumphrey being on the team. Smallwood being the only guy who’s ahead of Pump at this point 🙁

  • meteorologist

    The most underdiscussed problem for this game is the Eagles’ tendency to come out flat after extra time off. From Kempski:

    “- Washington after the Thurs night game.
    – Cowboys after the bye.
    – Falcons after the first round by in the playoffs.

    All slow starts on O. I think that’s a reasonable concern.”

    Combine this with Brady’s 4th quarter antics and our window to build a lead seems to be the 3rd quarter. Maybe the 1st half wont be so bad but that might be betting against the odds at this point

    • Dave

      I’m not sure if you can really use any games Carson started vs games started by Foles.

      With that in mind, I’m not sure how Jimmy thinks they came out flat against Atlanta.

      First series: Ajayi fumbled on the 2nd play after the Eagles moved the ball 49 yards.

      Second series: The Eagles moved the ball 42 yards. If Foles doesn’t take a sack, they could have kicked a 50 yard field goal.

      Third series:. 14 plays, 86 yards for a TD.

      The Eagles had almost 180 yards of offense and a TD in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the game.

      • xeynon

        Moreover, this is only three games (small sample size alert!), one of which as you point out isn’t even a great example.

        • meteorologist

          You seriously think we weren’t flat in the 1st half of the Falcons game? Talk about revisionist history

          • xeynon

            I didn’t think they looked great, but “flat” isn’t the word I would use. They made some plays but had too many mistakes.

      • Bert’s Bells

        That, plus the Eagles won all of those games.

      • meteorologist

        1st series we got a lucky PI call on a DUCK from Foles. And we immediately fumbled.

        We then let the Falcons drive for a FG

        2nd series was also aided by pass interference after another absolute DUCK from Foles

        3rd series we score but immediately let them score

        I find it hard to believe you didn’t think the Eagles looked bad at the start of the Falcons game. We all did. We all remember that that was the game Foles turned it on in the 2nd half

        • Dave

          I don’t think they looked very good on offense the entire game as they only put up 6 points in the second half. I agree that Foles went from that Dak in the headlights look to a more confident passer s the game went on. The offense still had little success scoring.

          As per my post a few days ago, it appears Nick is not much of a cold-weather QB. I equate his struggles due to the weather vs being flat from having time off.

          The first defensive series doesn’t mean as much to me since the 1st offensive series is scripted and practiced ad nauseum leading up to the game. It the 2nd defensive series that lets us if the defense can adjust. As they adjusted well, I didn’t consider them flat at all.

          • meteorologist

            “Dak in the headlights” lol!

            And fair enough

          • Dave

            I had to make a gif meme so I can use it over and over again to highlight Dak’s confusion.

            https://im4.ezgif.com/tmp/ezgif-4-2060e4b9de.gif

          • CrackSammich

            Ha, exactly like my cat–he wouldn’t look half as stupid if he closed his mouth.

      • kajomo

        Cowboys game too. We drive and scored on our first possession.

        These slow starts are a made up concept. The team has started slow when they didn’t have extended rest and have started fast with the rest. Each game is just different.

      • kajomo

        Cowboys game too. We drive and scored on our first possession.

        These slow starts are a made up concept. The team has started slow when they didn’t have extended rest and have started fast with the rest. Each game is just different.

      • kajomo

        Cowboys game too. We drive and scored on our first possession.

        These slow starts are a made up concept. The team has started slow when they didn’t have extended rest and have started fast with the rest. Each game is just different.

      • kajomo

        Cowboys game too. We drive and scored on our first possession.

        These slow starts are a made up concept. The team has started slow when they didn’t have extended rest and have started fast with the rest. Each game is just different.

    • Guy Media

      100% true, but the Patriots came out flat the last two times they played in the Super Bowl as well. I’m hoping that’s a push.

    • daveH

      And what’s with our tendancy to yield an early td but then firm up. . I want to hold em every time .. can’t afford to spot them any points

  • Dave
    • Guy Media

      Fipp the special teams coach was going to be Arizona’s OC?

      • Dave

        Flipp…I’m all thumbs on my phone.

        • Guy Media

          I figured as much, but couldn’t resist the razzing.

          • Dave

            I misspell Defillipo Defilippo every time I write out his full name.

  • jshort

    Does the MVP of the SB get a new car at least? I’m thinking the one FOles won (beating Brady) 2014 MVP Pro Bowl might be a little worn. Extra incentive.

    • xeynon

      “All Nick Foles does is beat out Tom Brady for postseason trophies.”

  • daveH

    I love me some greg cosell
    ..
    https://youtu.be/wSVHAu2_1Wk

    • Guy Media

      He’s the man.

    • Sean E

      I like Greg Cosell’s thumbs when he talks.

      • daveH

        I just lol’d in the John .. ill have to rewatch

  • A Roy

    I’m sorry, Tommy, but I cannot get into the Senior Bowl writeups yet. Maybe in a couple weeks when the season’s over.

    • kajomo

      The draft is a 12 months process for me. I can never get enough

      • Guy Media

        Same here.

      • A Roy

        I have WAY too much SB to think/read about.

  • daveH

    Also something to watch. . For the people barking that Pats cheat. . Watch the play clock at the 15 second mark when Brado pumps his hands in the air a few times. . Thats when the play clock magically switches up to 25 seconds again

  • BlindChow

    I’m sure the Eagles want [Chris Long] back, but can they afford him, even at a little over $2M?

    Maybe…he renegotiates his contract down to the veteran minimum…and Lurie (coincidentally) contributes a sizable sum to the charity of Chris Long’s choice?

    • A_T_G

      Might as well, he just gives away the money anyway.

    • Dave

      I understand that Long made over $100M in his career and his $1M salary is a drop in the bucket. But listening to him speak and hearing Howie talk about him leads me to believe he will spend the rest of his life helping others in one capacity or another.

      • CrackSammich

        “Howie talk about him leads me to believe he will spend the rest of his life helping others in one capacity or another.”

        As a former social worker, I can tell you he’s gonna be a lot more successful at it while already having money.

        • or____

          Fellow MSW. Cheers

          • CrackSammich

            Oh, gurrlll, you fancy with them letters after your name. In that case, in Pennsylvania I was not legally able to call myself a social worker without a master’s, so I “did social work”. Child welfare cannon fodder represent!

          • or____

            Formalities…f em I say

          • Bert’s Bells

            My sister’s in the same boat. She’s with old folks instead of kids, though.

          • CrackSammich

            I got infinitely more respect when I quit and was waiting tables. Pay was comparable.

          • Bert’s Bells

            Ugh.

      • Bert’s Bells

        In shocking twist, Long becomes TB12’s lifetime manservant after battering him so hard the passer becomes shellshocked. There’s no physical damage, but Brady can’t see the color green without freezing up and pissing himself.

  • ChoTime
    • Ryan Rambo

      Good stuff!

    • Dave

      They were incorrect on the first play to Alshon. After the game when asked about that play, Alshon stated that he though Nick was going to be sacked but when he stepped up in the pocket, Alshon took off toward the end zone.

      I like Football Outsiders, but I’m not sure how they couldn’t tell it was a broken play. Alshon broke his route off 4 seconds after the snap while Nick let it go over 5 seconds after receiving the ball.

      • eagleyankfan

        Agreed. You can see AJ pause to see what has happening. Once he did, he broke off the route. I wonder if it’s just bad editing as they did end that section of the article by saying ‘breaks his route’…
        I do disagree with the last score where they said the ball was ‘a bit high’. I thought it was a perfect throw using AJ size. They (Foles/AJ) were flawless on that play…

        • Dave

          Deffilipo Defilippo has said over and over again during his film reviews on the mothership website that he always wants the ball high in the end zone…either Jeffries catches it or it’s an incomplete.

        • Bert’s Bells

          Yeah, that’s a weird criticism. It’s only “a bit high” if AJ can’t catch it. His game is climbing the ladder.

        • sonofdman

          That criticism shows the preconceived bias of the writer. That’s the kind of throw that is “a bit high” when someone like Foles throws it and “perfectly thrown where only the receiver can get it” when someone like Brady throws it.

      • ChoTime

        They have a variety of writers working for them. I just shared the article because it was Eagles-related, and God knows we get little enough about that from the national media.

        My take-home from _all_ the clips was _our offensive line gave Nick a lot of time for slow-developing plays to develop_, personally.

        • CrackSammich

          I think the time for no Eagles coverage is at an end.

  • Masked Man

    “Carson Wentz leads all player merchandise sales for 2017 on NFLShop.com”

    Posted by Mike Florio on January 25, 2018, 1:06 PM EST

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/25/carson-wentz-leads-all-player-merchandise-sales-for-2017/

  • GermanEagle

    Nick frigging FOLes.

    • CrackSammich

      FOles*

      • A Roy

        Wonder whatever happened to GEagle.

        • CrackSammich

          Somebody said he’s gotten into national politics on twitter with the same uninformed zeal. It certainly make sense. I’m just surprised it’s not Flat Earthing.

          • Bert’s Bells

            Hahahaha. I’ve got to see THat.

          • ChoTime

            seriously? I mean, that sounds too true to be real.

          • A Roy

            Man, that sounds SO GEagle. Maybe he’ll run. Congressman GEagle. Has a nice ring to it. Of the No Nothing party.

        • daveH

          And whers Aaron .. his concise bitter humor was kind of funny

      • levdog

        FOles- what was his nickname for FOles- rainmaker?

  • truehaynes

    I would be pissed of we cut curry. I think he has gotten way too much flak form fans about his sack numbers. The man is a deacon against the run and is huge for a DE. He also gets regular pressure and plays his butt off every play. He’s a better player than Barnett at this point and maybe ever will be. I’d ask him to take a cut down to 7-8 mil but I don’t just release the man

    • Bert’s Bells

      The Eagles value production at DE very highly. I don’t see them cutting Curry with his production and two or three prime years left.

      I have faith that they’ll re-work his deal if they need to get the number in order.

  • eagleyankfan

    I don’t search all areas/media for eagles stuff. I mainly come here. Is there a place to find all of brian baldiner break downs of the game? All, is there an all-22 posted somewhere? TIA

    • Corry

      For me Twitter is a good place to go. Fran Duffy does his play breakdowns one by one before he puts them in a large post on the Eagles official page. Baldy does his break downs there too. I don’t know that he has an official site that publishes his work or not. And if you don’t mind the subscription fee, theAthletic.com is great too. Sheil Kapadia is still doing solid work and I find it’s well worth the subscription.

    • daveH

      I put 2 great links a littke farther down in a previous comment ..

  • truehaynes

    I actually think curry and bg should get more credit for our run d than Cox and jernigan. There both incredibly strong for de’s

    • Corry

      It’s a group effort. The DEs don’t make plays if the DTs aren’t holding their ground. It’s dirty work that gets no love usually, but it’s necessary for good run defense. I mean good run defense usually means good team defense.

    • Insomniac

      I have something to tell you..all four of those guys are incredibly strong for their positions.

  • Ryan Rambo

    Wow. Just reflecting! From hosting the NFL Draft to playing in the Super Bowl. This has been a season to remember!!

    • Donald Kalinowski

      That was my favorite draft ever. The city looked nice, it was packed, crowd was in it, and there was so many crazy trades in that first round. Dallas is going to have a hard time topping that.

      • CrackSammich

        I’m sure they’ll have no trouble getting that city party vibe out of a parking lot in Arlington.

  • Masked Man

    The great TBEisen always does a weekly Super Bowl Nation fan comment review called “What They’re Saying” about the Philadelphia Eagles on BGN.

    With the season the Birds had, these have been massively entertaining.

    Check out his NFCCG edition “WTS.” Comments are key. Editorial optional.

    https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2018/1/25/16930444/what-theyre-saying-nfccg-volume-i-afc

    • Someguy77

      What bothers me about this (and Twitter in general) is that it is a platform for people’s IDs that is largely unrestricted. Echo chamber on which the loudest and stupidest voices often resonate the most.

      This almost never happens in a gathering of people face-to-face because saying such outlandish things and acting in such a manner would violate too many cultural/social norms. At worst, it would provoke an intense response from someone that would easily physically escalate.

      Plus just because a few idiots say something on Twitter doesn’t really make it in any way representative of what the larger group/subgroup think or feel about a topic.

      Use Twitter for work purposes primarily for information gathering/monitoring but I generally despise it as a personal tool. It generally brings out and greatly magnifies the worst of people.

    • Ryan Rambo

      That was an awesome read!

  • ChoTime

    amusing/infuriating/interesting Eagles-related quotes. Fletcher Cox-related content, always a good thing:

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/week-quotes/2018/week-quotes-january-26-2018

    • Masked Man

      New York Giants fans are having a tough time with this Super Bowl match up in your link article.

      Giants fans will hate it IF the Patriots win another Supe!

      And Giants fans will really hate it IF THE EAGLES JUST POSSIBLY win the Lombardi Trophy!

      • ChoTime

        Lose/lose for those poor babies.

  • Ryan Rambo

    Nelson Agholor was taking kick returns in Barners’ absence yesterday.

    • anon

      That’s what he did at USC, part of me thinks he’d be an upgrade, but you’d also want a guy with sure hands back there

      • Ark87

        No thanks. Nelly was god awful at it when we tried his rookie season, though he generally struggled at everything back then. Maybe he has improved just by having his swagger back, but I don’t want to find out in the super bowl.

        • or____

          Hard to see the relevance of his rookie season now.

          • Ark87

            Let’s put it this way, He’s got enough on his plate in the biggest game of his life. Don’t put him in a position to be a goat, and nobody will have to worry about it. Week13, week 17 even, fine. Superbowl, nah I’m good. Lets save the discovery of whether Nelly can return kicks for next year.

          • or____

            Yeah I guess playing it conservative is what got us here… oops. Well at least playing it conservative is what got the jags the win against the pats last week..oops.

            The more we discuss this, the more I want it to happen.

          • Sean E

            I know this guy blocked me for some reason, but there is virtually zero chance any player makes an impact on KO returns. It’s simply not an impact position like a Punt Returner is. Unless your name is Josh Huff or Chris Polk.

          • Ark87

            Taking smart risks got us here. There is statistically almost no upside to the KO return, and plenty of risks like muffing, fumbling, and injury. And no real way to prepare Nelly for the role in a handful of half-speed non-tackling practices.

            He’s likely only out there because someone had to do it.

          • or____

            Fair enough, for KORs, I agree. But for punts, I’d be happy to see 13 out there. Now, since it was because Barner was out, who should be second KORer? Clement? Burton?

          • CrackSammich

            Gibson? Mills? *gasp* Smallwood?

          • or____

            That’s the thing, no great alternatives

          • D3FB

            Torrey is the backup PR

          • or____

            Oh, uh, thanks? for that update. (Winces)

      • Sean E

        Kickoff returns are the least impactful play of the game!

        This was a great video to explain it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_SsIKgwvz4

        • Someguy77

          They are and it just results in needless injuries.

          The XFL tried the ‘scramble’ instead of an opening kickoff and in nearly half of the scrambles a player got hurt.

          Go figure when you have 2 guys running at full speed both diving on a ball at the same time.

      • Ryan Rambo

        Yeah…he’s def got a little juice if he can find a crease or hole. I’d still prefer Barner just hold onto the ball and we go from there lol.

  • Insomniac

    https://sports.yahoo.com/eagles-didnt-seek-chris-long-160035383.html

    How I imagine the phone call went down

    Long: hey Howie I’ll play for your team for sort of free
    Howie: for free? say no more

    • CrackSammich

      Yo, Barwin is a bro for life.

    • kajomo

      That’s awesome.

      I’m not a believer in destiny, but there is something special about this team.

  • Dave

    Not sure if this was posted a few days ago when it came out.

    RICK GOSSELIN’S 2017 NFL SPECIAL TEAMS RANKINGS

    Philly is in at #13 after coming in at #1 last year and #5 in 2015.

    No Maragos, no Sproles, no Smallwood.

    http://www.talkoffamenetwork.com/rick-gosselins-2017-nfl-special-teams-rankings/

    • ChoTime

      Yeah, that’s pretty much how DVOA sees it, too. Losing Sproles was sneaky big. Basically improvement in the offense made up for it. Sure would have liked to see the little rocket back there.

    • anon

      No one cares about Smallwood. We didn’t have bam bam the olb until Carson got injured. I think he saved the season.

    • Bert’s Bells

      A lot of miscues on ST this season, in every stage at every level. Missed kicked, muffs, spotty coverage. Middle of the pack seems right. Bounce back game next week.