Injury Update

Posted: August 18th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles got some big news on Saturday.

This was anticipated, but it is still good to officially here. Doug Pederson said Wentz would need some time in 11-on-11’s to get ready for the regular season.

Jimmy Bama, BLG and Jeff “Don’t call me John” McLane all said emphatically that they expect Wentz back for the season opener based on what they saw this summer. The coaches and medical staff had certain benchmarks for Wentz to clear and he’s obviously done that to advance to playing in 11-on-11 sessions.

Wentz is getting closer, but the team isn’t going to rush him back just to make sure he’s there for the opener. They will only put him out there if he is all the way back and ready to go. Wentz is focused on playing the first game of the season. The Eagles are focused on having him healthy for the next decade. Gotta think big picture on this issue.

RapSheet has been a terrible source for Eagles news in the past year or so, but Foles didn’t think he was seriously hurt on Thursday night so this report feels right. The Eagles have a great trio of QBs. They just have to get them all healthy at the same time.

What about the rest of the team?

That’s not good news. Rodgers had firmly established himself as the #3 TE. I hope he’s okay, but we haven’t gotten any updates. TE Josh Perkins was being evluated for a concussion. No update on that. Billy Brown might be the #3 TE if these guys are out for a while.

The Eagles may be doing a lot of TE scouting in the coming days.

More bad news. Treggs was fighting for a roster spot with Markus Wheaton and Kamar Aiken. All 3 of those veterans have done some things to put themselves in the mix for spot at WR. Any of them could still win that job, but Treggs will have a hard time since he’s out for a while.

To help with depth at receiver, the Eagles made a move.

Prince was a star for the Philadelphia Soul. You won’t remember him from college. He played basketball, not football. The Eagles are looking for someone to eat up practice and possibly game reps. There aren’t a lot of good options on the street. You’re not calling Dez Bryant for this type of situation. You call someone like Prince and give him the chance of a lifetime.

I’m guessing he’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lack of walls in the NFL.

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Does It Matter?

Posted: August 18th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Eagles were the better team in February, but there is no question that the Patriots were the superior team on Thursday night. A few people wanted to know if that mattered at all.

Yes.

And no.

The fact the Eagles lost doesn’t matter. Preseason results don’t mean a thing without a lot of context.

The Eagles were so dominant that summer that I bought in hook, line and sinker. The Eagles looked like a machine and it was hard not to get pulled in. But I didn’t account enough for the fact that preseason opponents weren’t gameplanning for Chip Kelly’s no-huddle attack. That offense got defenses off-balance and made them look silly.

The regular season started and things were very different. Teams were ready for the no-huddle and the Eagles. Instead of going to the Super Bowl, the team went 7-9 and Chipster got fired.

It would be easy to just dismiss Thursday’s loss as a meaningless preseason game. I don’t think that is fully true.

We’re less than a month from the regular season starting. You don’t expect perfection, but want the team to show more good than bad. Thursday’s game was a slopfest. There were mental mistakes. There were physical mistakes. It wasn’t what you want to see in Week 2.

The other issue is that wasn’t a bunch of third stringers out there all game. The starters played a quarter or more. The backups played most of the game. Some third stringers were mixed into rotational situations. The third string O-line didn’t get on the field until there were two minutes left in the game.

Context is important. Nick Foles was rusty so that made the whole offense look rusty. Big V didn’t help matters by playing his worst game in a while. The Pats seemed to blitz a lot. That got the best of the backup O-line early on and led to some ugly drives. Tom Brady played the whole first half. Brady against backups is a huge advantage to the Pats.

This upcoming week will really give us an idea of where this team is. The third preseason game is a dress rehearsal for the regular season. The starters usually play into the third quarter. The Eagles will still be missing some key players, but there will be enough talent on the field that the team should look pretty good.

If we see another sloppy performance filled with bad blocking, poor tackling, penalties, turnovers and other assorted mistakes, it will be fair to wonder what’s going on.

If there is an upside to the bad game, it should have gotten the Eagles attention. We’ve heard all spring and summer about what a focused team this is and how they are looking forward and not in the rearview mirror. If there was any Super Bowl hangover, losing to the Pats like that should have cured it. Preseason or not, nobody wants to lose to Brady and his merry band of Patriots.

I’m not worried about the Eagles, but it sure would be nice to see them come out and play well this week. The opener against the Falcons is just around the corner.

*****

Smith showed promise last year. No idea what’s going on with him, but Seattle is trying to run a highly competitive camp this year so missing time for a personal issue wasn’t a good idea.

Some team will probably take a flyer on him. Teams are desperate for pass rushers.

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Sudfeld Soars, But Eagles Crash

Posted: August 17th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

So, that was one ugly game. Errant passes, bad drops, bad blocking, missed tackles, sloppy coverage, too many penalties and too many turnovers. Aside from that, it was a splendid evening in Foxboro.

Nick Foles stunk. Good Nick can be really good. Bad Nick can really bad. History shows that he needs the right circumstances to succeed. Missing key receivers, having a vanilla gameplan and being rusty himself…that’s a formula for crappy play, which is what we saw. Foles got hurt and left the game with a shoulder injury.

This performance isn’t a big deal. Foles struggled last year against the Raiders and the Cowboys when the Eagles did more resting than practicing. He needs good practice reps to help bring out the best in him. Foles got some time this week, but was still taking it slow after dealing with an injury. He was rusty tonight and it showed.

My biggest focus is the struggles of Big V. The young LT had a really bad game. He gave up pressure on a regular basis. Without studying the tape, he seemed to take deep pass sets a lot and got bull-rushed right into the QB. He didn’t remind me at all of the guy from last year’s playoffs.

There were a couple of major positives. Nate Sudfeld had some great moments. He was up and down at times so you can’t say he had a great game, but his highlights were impressive. He made a spectacular throw to Shelton Gibson for a gain of 57.

Sudfeld hit Rashard Davis, Richard Rodgers and Gibson with TD passes. Sudfeld dealt with heavy pressure at times. He got the ball out as best he could and gave his receivers a chance to make plays for him. That’s what you want in a backup QB. You need a guy who can make things happen. Sudfeld needs to be more consistent, but there is no denying his talent.

Gibson had the best game of his young career, going 5-90-1. He caught the deep ball, showing good speed and hands. Gibson worked the middle effectively on some underneath routes. The TD came when he ran a great route to get wide open. Gibson averaged 30.3 yards per KOR, including one that went for 46 yards.

It would appear the light has gone on for Gibson. He’s always had talent. He’s now figuring out how to use it.

Ronald Darby was the one defensive player who really stood out. He had a couple of passes thrown his way and he could have picked both of them off. Darby still doesn’t have good hands so we had to settle for pass break-ups. Darby looks ready to have a big year.

Sidney Jones was up and down. He was credited with 4 solo tackles, 2 PBUs and a TFL. His lowlight came when Cordarrelle Patterson caught a short pass in front of Jones, gave him a hard fake and then had an easy 10-yard path to the end zone. Jones was on the ground, completely faked out. Overall, I liked the way he competed and felt pretty good about him.

Cameron Johnston averaged 48.7 yards on seven punts. I thought he had a pretty good night.

The Eagles coaches have a lot to clean up. Forget about winning and losing. This is the preseason. A team’s record can be deceiving. I do think the coaches have to be a bit ticked off at the sloppy play. There are just too many mistakes. That’s something Doug Pederson and his staff must work on.

Quick Hits

  • Matt Jones was terrible. You only keep him around so he can eat up reps in the preseason finale.
  • Dallas Goedert had a terrible block on a goal line run that got blown up. He had another good night of catching the ball.
  • Bryce Treggs did some good things. He’s making another run at a roster spot.
  • DeAndre Carter has caught my eye a few times.
  • Rashard Davis is an awful punt returner and should be taken off that job ASAP. They are flushing those reps down the toilet by giving them to him. On the bright side, he did have a nice TD catch.
  • I didn’t notice any wild snaps from Isaac Seumalo.
  • Jordan Mailata and the #3 OL only played the last 2 minutes. Very odd. I thought he did look better than last week.
  • The Pats were throwing some heavy blitzes at the backup OL. That can give you misleading results for both sides.
  • Michael Bennett seemed more active and disruptive.
  • Bruce Hector played a fair amount and caught my eye a few times. Encouraging performance.
  • Destiny Vaeao had some good pass rushes.
  • Jordan Hicks was sloppy as a tackler.
  • Elijah Qualls moved down the depth chart and didn’t seem to play well.
  • Winston Craig continues to catch my eye.
  • The Eagles run defense was not good (140 yards). I don’t know who is at fault. Part of that was tackling.
  • Avante Maddox did some good things, but he was burned for a TD.

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Eagles at Pats – PS #2 Preview

Posted: August 16th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

I am not going to talk about the Super Bowl. That was back in February. This is August. Leave that in the past.

There is no reason to talk about Nick Foles seeing his first game action since being the Super Bowl MVP in the Eagles 41-33 victory over New England. So I won’t talk about that. Foles missed the opener so it will be good to see him in action. He won’t play much, but it will be good for him to knock off the rust and get ready for next week.

We don’t know who all is going to play. RB could be interesting. This could be a banged up position. If so that would mean a lot of reps for Wendell Smallwood. He’s in a real fight to make the team so a lot of reps could be a good thing for him. I’m hoping Josh Adams is able to play. He got my attention last week. I want to see more of him.

Dallas Goedert played really well in the opener. It will be interesting to see how he responds to all the praise (if he plays).

WR is going to be interesting. Lots of key guys will be out (including Super Bowl heroes Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor). Mike Wallace will probably make his Eagles debut. Shelton Gibson needs another strong performance to keep the coaches excited about him. I’d love to see the QBs get the ball to Greg Ward. Let’s see what he can do.

The backup OL needs to get better. It will be fun to see if Jordan Mailata can build off last week’s performance. For the first time ever, he’s got game tape to study and learn from. Isaac Seumalo is desperate to snap well. Rookie Matt Pryor was uneven. He needs a better showing this time out.

On the DL, I’ll still be focused mainly on the DTs. Rookie Bruce Hector should get mixed into the rotation earlier this week. He’s trying to win a roster spot and playing time. Azziz Shittu flashed last week. He needs to show he can be more consistent this time out. I’d love to see more from Destiny Vaeao.

I’m curious to see if Josh Sweat was able to study the tape and see his weaknesses. Dude has incredible potential, but needs a lot of work. There were times last week when it felt like he was playing too cautious, trying to avoid making a mistake. I hope the coaches are able to get him to cut it loose and really attack.

We’ll get another week of LB tape to study. Nate Gerry seems to be leading, but Kamu Grugier-Hill isn’t giving up without a fight. He had a good showing in the opener. Corey Nelson is very much on the hot seat and needs to get his butt in gear. He needs to really stand out. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Joe Walker.

Corey Graham should play and that would help the safety situation. Tre Sullivan was very mixed in the opener. He needs to cover better.

Will Avonte Maddox start in the slot? That will be fun to see. If he does, will Sidney Jones be the #2 slot or would they move De’Vante Bausby in there and let Jones play outside?

Cameron Johnston might have had his best day of practice this week. He must build off that.

Brandon Graham can’t sack Tom Brady like he did in the Super Bowl (41-33 Eagles win) so maybe Fletcher Cox will do that for him. Or Chris Long. Or Derek Barnett. Or maybe Michael Bennett, who wasn’t on the Eagles when they beat the Patriots back in February.

I do look forward to Lane Johnson being booed as much as possible. I almost hope he commits a penalty so the crowd can really let him have it. You might remember that Lane was very critical of the Patriots after the Eagles beat them in the Super Bowl.

Game #2 is always interesting. The first game can give you some bad results. Players are nervous about the first game of the year. Some guys are playing in their first ever NFL game. Some are debuting with their current team. There are a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that the opener doesn’t always give you an accurate read on players.

That changes in Game #2. Nerves have faded. Players have been able to study game tape (don’t undersell how important that is). This is a huge opportunity for a lot of young players. They can make a strong push for a roster spot or they can start to see the writing on the wall.

Let’s hope everyone stays healthy.

And please don’t talk about the Super Bowl. That ancient history isn’t worth bringing up.

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To Stash Or Not To Stash

Posted: August 15th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Jordan Mailata is unlike any Eagles player I have ever seen.

Mailata is one of the biggest Eagles of all time. Jon Runyan was also a mountain of a man, but Mailata is different from him because of his athleticism. Mailata is a freak, and I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. It would be stretching things a bit too far to say he’s got the footwork of a ballerina, but guys his size are not supposed to move the way he does.

Mailata is also completely raw, more project than prospect. He has played in one football game in his life, and that was last week against Pittsburgh. Mailata needs work, work and more work. He has no business being on the field during an NFL game during the 2018 season.

What do you do with such a player?

The conventional logic is for the Eagles to find a way to put Mailata on injured reserve for the 2018 season. They don’t have to waste a roster spot on him and he can spend the next 17 or so weeks learning football from the classroom, as well as just soaking up the NFL experience. Remember, Mailata is a blank slate. He needs to learn anything and everything about the sport of pro football.

The Eagles already have a reason they can use for injured reserve. From Tim McManus:

Mailata is now a week deep into his first NFL training camp, and he acknowledges his body is “crook” – Australian for “ailing.” His arms are feeling it the most; now that the pads are on and the intensity turned up, he’s using them really for the first time to battle pass-rushers, and it’s taking a toll. A team physical found that he has a Grade 2 PCL tear in his right knee from his rugby days, so he wears a large brace around his massive leg daily to protect from further injury. On the ball of his left foot, there’s a nasty blister the size of a silver dollar from the thousands of kick-steps he has been practicing.

(h/t to Jimmy Bama for that)

The problem with IR is that Mailata can’t practice. He can do all the classroom learning he wants, but he can’t get on the field and work on his game. And that’s what he needs more than anything…practice reps.

The coaching staff would be focused on getting their linemen ready for Sunday’s game. Developing Mailata would be second to that and not even a close second. There just isn’t enough time for coaches to think much about projects during the season. Still, every practice rep would have value.

Mailata has the physical gifts to be a good starting offensive linemen. The only way for him to go from raw project to playable prospect is experience. He must get on the field as much as possible.

In a fantasy world, the Eagles would put Mailata on the practice squad. That would save them a roster spot and allow him to practice. I just don’t think they can take that risk. 31 other teams studied his performance from last week. They saw the potential. If the Eagles were to cut Mailata, there would be a lot of teams filing a waiver claim to get his rights.

The Eagles need to go IR or active roster if they want to play it safe.

Could you really keep a player who you know can’t get on the field? Sure. There are going to be inactive players every week, no matter what. Mailata could be one of those inactive guys.

The Eagles would not consider keeping Mailata on the active roster if he wasn’t a special prospect. Roster spots are precious. You aren’t going to use a spot on a player who can’t contribute this year without special circumstances.

None of this is a surprise to the Eagles. They scouted Mailata and wanted to draft him. It isn’t like Howie Roseman lost a bet to some other GM and had to pick the Rugby Dude. They had a plan for how to develop him.

I’d love to share some PBRs with Howie and Jeff Stoutland to see if they think Mailata is ahead of schedule, behind or about where they expected. I don’t think they’ll say anything too revealing to the media.

It may seem like a daunting task to try to develop such a raw player. The Eagles did turn Taylor Hart into an OL. The Steelers turned Alejandro Villanueva from a former WR/TE/DL into a LT. Jason Peters was a blocking TE in college and is now a potential Hall of Fame LT.

If you have a player with the right amount of talent and a good work ethic, a good coach can develop that player. It also helps if both of them are completely on board. Mailata genuinely seems to want this to work. Stoutland seems excited by the challenge of trying to develop him.

Another key is for the organization to have a plan so that the coach and player can succeed. You can bet the Eagles have a plan for how to turn the Rugby Dude into a good NFL player. We’ll have to wait and see if it works.

I expect Mailata to be better against the Patriots than he was last week. Every bit of experience should help him to grow, to take another step forward. Still, his development is a marathon and not a sprint. Mailata just turned 21 a month ago.

If everyone involved handles this right, Mailata could have one hell of an NFL career and the Eagles could have one hell of an offensive lineman.

We’ve got three more games to go this summer before the Eagles have to decide what to do with Mailata for 2018. My money is on him making the active roster.

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