A Scary Thought

Posted: April 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 363 Comments »

Rumors, rumors, rumors. This is the time of year for them.

Sheil Kapadia wrote a piece on some info Ron Jaworski passed along on Friday. Here’s some of what Jaws had to say.

On Friday, Ron Jaworski was a guest on CSN’s Philly Sports Talk and said he is picking up buzz that Marcus Mariota is going to be Tampa’s selection.

“The latest I’m hearing now from my sources around the league, who are pretty wired in, is that he’s going to go number one now to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” said Jaworski.

“Mariota’s stock, remember it was quiet for a while? And there’s a reason for that. There’s a lull every year until about 30 days before the draft. Now the coaches get involved. Prior to that, it’s the scouts, it’s the roadies that are filling out the paper work. Now the coaches get involved. Now team owners get involved. Now general managers get involved. So you’re starting to see, in my opinion, Winston’s stock starting to slide a little bit and Mariota’s stock starting to go up a little bit.”

First, we have no idea if any of this is true. I don’t doubt Jaws is hearing things, but this is the time of year when teams love to spread mis-information to try and keep everyone confused as to what they are really thinking and what is going to happen.

If this is true, the thought of Mariota going 1st overall is interesting, mainly because it would involve Winston sliding. And where would he go?

The same teams in the Top 10 (or so) that like Mariota could have interest in Winston, but not necessarily. Winston has serious baggage. The Browns have been reported as a team that likes Mariota. After dealing with Johnny Manziel’s immaturity this year, I don’t know that they would want anything to do with Winston.

My personal nightmare is Winston coming to the Eagles. I think there is very little chance of that happening because I think someone will take him prior to 20 and I question whether Chip would want him. But if things went wrong and the Eagles did take Winston…I’d be very uncomfortable.

I can’t stand him.

The rape allegation bothers me tremendously. If you somehow move beyond that, his pattern of small, stupid incidents goes beyond what his coach Jimbo Fisher tried to paint as typical college kid behavior. Winston knew the spotlight was on him and he didn’t care. He did dumb thing after dumb thing, all with a big smile on his face.

Ugh. I want no part of that guy.

There is no question that he’s got the talent to be a star QB, but his lack of maturity should be a gigantic red flag for all 32 teams.

If the Eagles drafted Winston…I’m just not sure how I’d handle that. I just can’t see any scenario where I’m cheering for him on the field. Let’s hope he goes 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 or anywhere before 20 so I don’t have to face that dilemma.

Not all of you will agree with my feelings on Winston. Let me know what you think about him.

* * * * *

More from Jaws on the QB situation.

“I’ll give you a little bit of information on how much Chip Kelly loves Marcus Mariota,” said Jaworski. “This is the time of year when everyone talks, and I talk to general managers, I’ve talked to player personnel directors, and I’ve heard it from a couple or three people that have had conversations with Chip Kelly, and Chip Kelly said, ‘Marcus Mariota will win multiple Super Bowls in the National Football League.’

“Now, he didn’t say it was going to be in Philadelphia (laughs), but that’s how much he loves this guy, and a lot of people feel the same way, that Marcus Mariota is that good that you can win multiple Super Bowls with him as your quarterback.”

That’s high praise from Chip. He’s doing the right thing by supporting his former player, but he’s not helping the chances of Mariota becoming an Eagle.

* * * * *

Here’s a bit of good news. The Eagles are talking to DE Cedric Thornton about a long term deal. BGN has the details here.

Thornton is a good LDE. He is an outstanding run defender. He still needs work on his pass rushing skills. It would be great if the Eagles could lock up him, Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan long term. That is a good D-line and they work well together.

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A Convert?

Posted: April 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 371 Comments »

Quinten Rollins was one of the most interesting players at the Senior Bowl. He had played college basketball for Miami of Ohio for 4 years before deciding to try his hand at college football. And boy did that prove to be a wise decision. He picked off 7 passes and played his way onto the NFL’s radar. Rollins was up and down in Mobile, but you could see his talent. He is a legit NFL prospect.

Jimmy Bama and I got to speak with him one night. Rollins was bright, funny and fun to talk to. He started off with the usual answers, but we got him to let his guard down and be honest with us. I came away very impressed.

I’ve watched tape of lots of DBs since then and went back to do more tape study on Rollins recently. He is one of my favorite prospects in this class and a player I’d love the Eagles to target aggressively. Here’s the interesting part. I’d like them to try him at Safety first.

Some NFL teams, including the Eagles, have been trying some Safety drills with him during workouts. And Mike Mayock liksted him at Safety on his latest rankings.

Rollins has great ball skills. He picked off 7 passes in 2014. Some of them were really impressive. You want a S to have good hands so he can take advantage of any balls that come his way.

Rollins has great instincts. He took up football in his 5th year of college and looked completely natural most of the time. He showed an understanding of routes and plays. He has excellent field awareness. Some players only see what is right in front of them. Rollins saw the whole field.

One of the things that really impressed me is that Rollins is a physical player. He will hit and tackle. He will fight through blocks. Watch what he does to the RT at the 4:25 mark of this video.

That guy was a basketball player? Wow.

Rollins would be perfect for the Eagles scheme. He could play deep, in the box, Cover 2 or slide down and play the slot. He has the size, skill set, athleticism and toughness to handle those roles.

If he doesn’t pan out at S, you can always put him back at CB. I think he could be a good starting corner in the NFL. I just think Safeties are harder to find. And Rollins combination of ball skills and instincts makes me think he could thrive at that position.

If Rollins is on the board in the 2nd round, I hope the Eagles take him.

For now, enjoy his highlights package.

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The preseason schedule was announced yesterday.

3 of the 4 teams are in the AFC.

3 of the 4 teams are very good.

We’ll get to see some ex-Eagles in a couple of the games.

How is that for some in-depth reporting on the preseason schedule?

Oh yeah…and the Eagles will have vanilla gameplans.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama breaks down the odds on who the Eagles 1st round pick will be.

Oh, and we did record a new podcast in case you missed it.


More Bradford Talk

Posted: April 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 298 Comments »

Elliot Shorr-Parks came up with a new angle on the whole question of whether Sam Bradford is here to stay.

If the Eagles aren’t selling his jersey at their own stores, isn’t that a hint? Maybe.

I don’t think this means anything definitively, other than the merchandising people are waiting until after the draft because they don’t want to get burned.

When Chip Kelly says the Eagles didn’t trade for Sam Bradford with the intention of trading him away, I believe him. Totally. That deal was being talked about in early February. I don’t think Kelly is delusional enough to start planning at that point to deal for Bradford “knowing” he can then turn around and deal Bradford to get Mariota.

If Mariota falls and the right situation plays out, maybe Bradford does get dealt in a move-up for MM. Maybe. But there are way too many moving parts for anyone to say that is going to happen with any sense of likelihood.

Tampa is taking a long look at Mariota. It is still possible he goes #1 overall. Mike Mayock just put Mariota at the top of his QB rankings. That’s based on more research and analysis. And his rankings are also a reflection of what he hears from league sources. Maybe people are starting to wake up to the idea that Jameis Winston should scare the hell out of them.

The Titans are checking MM out. The Chargers are showing interest and there are rumors of them dealing Philip Rivers. Word out of Cleveland is that they’ve all but given up on Johnny Manziel. They could move up for MM. If he falls to them, would they really deal Marcus to the Eagles for Bradford and picks? Why not just keep the high character rookie QB? It isn’t like that team is built to win right away.

I would love for the Eagles to get Mariota. I still struggle to picture Bradford and Kelly standing on a podium holding the Lombardi. I don’t think Mariota is leading anyone to a title in 2015, but it would be exciting to see Kelly get a young, dynamic talent at QB that he could mold the way he wants. Michael Vick had talent, but was a veteran with a lifetime of bad habits already built in. Mariota needs plenty of work, but he’s already been taught a lot of the key principles of KellyBall due to his time in Oregon.

But I think MM to Philly remains a huge long shot.

I hope I’m wrong.

* * * * *

Many of you found my comments about WAS yesterday to be ironic. I mentioned that they often put their DBs in bad situations and that led to bad results. Your point…didn’t the Eagles do the same thing?

No. Not at all.

The Eagles DBs did some dumb things, but the basic coverage ideas weren’t an issue.

Nate Allen got burned in Arizona because he was careless and bit on a fake. He was focused on preventing a 1st down when the game situation dictated that he should have focused on preventing a TD. He didn’t and the Eagles lost.

Allen was to blame for some of Bradley Fletcher’s late season struggles. Allen was the deep Safety in the middle of the field. He should have cheated to Fletcher’s side, but instead sat right in the middle until the ball was in the air. That led to big plays by DeSean and Dez. Allen pulled his head out of his butt in the 2nd half of the WAS game and finally rotated to Fletcher’s side before the pass was thrown. Allen was able to pick off a deep throw. Funny how that works, huh?

The Eagles had bad DBs last year. I don’t think the coverage concepts were unsound.

The flip side of that is that the coaches didn’t do a good job of getting creative to try and come up with some solution to the situation. They stayed fairly basic. Some coaches can come up with complex coverages that do help protect vulnerable DBs.

You can argue that Fletcher should have been benched (as many of you did), but that’s still not a scheme issue.

Jim Haslett ran the WAS defense for 5 years. They averaged finishing 22nd in yards allowed and 24th in points allowed during that stretch. It amazed me that the man kept his job. The Skins never showed serious improvement.

Some of you will still disagree with me and that’s fine. I just wanted you to understand the thinking behind my comments. I’m not delusional about Bill Davis as a coach who is going to turn water into wine. I guess I just think he’s more fundamentally sound than Haslett.

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Super Bowl, Here We Come

Posted: April 8th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 253 Comments »

On Tuesday the Eagles signed DB E.J. Biggers and WR Seyi Ajirotutu, giving them the single most talented collection of people united for a single cause since Patrick Swazye led his castmates in the 1983 production of The Outsiders, possibly the most important piece of artwork in the history of mankind.

(Was there really ever a time when C. Thomas Howell was that far above Tom Cruise? Yes, yes there was.)

Some of you may wonder if I’ve lost my mind. The answer is no. I’m just practicing my hyperbolic writing. You can’t just wake up in the morning and expect hyperbole to flow from your keyboard without a little practice. And in case you want to see more of the powerhouse The Outsiders, enjoy.

Biggers and Ajirotutu are nice depth signings, but that’s about it. One of the exercises I like to do is jotting down a depth chart. Look at a projected 53-man roster as well as a 90-man unit. Certain areas jump out as weak. That was certainly the case with WR and DB prior to yesterday.

That isn’t to say Biggers and Ajirotutu are answers. But they could be. The Eagles needed someone to take over for Brad Smith as a WR/STer. Ajirotutu can do just that.

Originally signed as a rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers in 2010, Seyi Ajirotutu (pronounced Shay-EE Ah-jeer-uh-too-too) has appeared in 57 games with two starts over his five-year NFL career, totaling 420 yards and three touchdowns on 24 catches. In addition to providing depth at the receiver position, Ajirotutu (6-3, 215) was named the 2014 Chargers Special Teams Player of the Year and led the team in special teams tackles in both 2013 (12) and 2014 (17).

As for Biggers,  he can play S or CB. He just can’t play CB well. I have to think the Eagles see him as someone that could battle for a Safety spot, whether as a starter or backup. He does have experience.

A six-year veteran, E.J. Biggers was originally a seventh-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 and spent the past two seasons with Washington. Biggers (6-0, 185 pounds) has appeared in 76 games (31 starts) and recorded 235 tackles, four interceptions, 38 passes defensed and one sack.

In 2014, Biggers, 27, saw action in 15 games with two starts, recording 31 tackles and four passes defensed. He originally joined Washington as a free agent in 2013 and started five games for the team in his first campaign, notching 51 tackles, one interception and five passes defensed. After missing the 2009 season, he appeared in 32 games over his first two seasons with the Buccaneers, totaling 105 tackles, two interceptions and 22 passes defensed. He started 12 of the 13 games in which he appeared for Tampa Bay in 2012.

The Eagles needed someone to be competition in camp, if nothing else.

History has shown some DBs will get better with time. I remember Mike Adams as a young player with SF (2005) as someone the Eagles torched over and over and over. He was an alternate for the Pro Bowl last year. Part of being a good DB is knowing what you do well and what you struggle with, and then playing accordingly. Hopefully the Eagles can figure out what Biggers does well and focus on that. It sure seems like playing man coverage over and over is not his strength (or anything close to it).

I do think getting Biggers out of WAS will help. They consistently exposed DBs to bad situations and the players struggled in part because of that.

The Eagles got veteran help by signing Biggers and Ajirotutu. Time will tell if that help is for summer competition or actual help in the regular season. And Super Bowl, of course.

* * * * *

The Eagles aren’t done.

This would be more about depth/competition. Still, it is funny that with Murray, Mathews, Sproles, Polk and Matt Tucker the Eagles would be looking at an outside back.

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Shady’s Feelings Got Hurt

Posted: April 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 254 Comments »

LeSean McCoy isn’t happy with Chip Kelly.

Jeff McLane spoke to Shady yesterday and got this quote.

“I don’t think he likes or respects the stars. I’m being honest,” McCoy told The Inquirer on Monday. “I think he likes the fact that it’s ‘Chip Kelly and the Eagles.’ “

Wow. Tell us how you really feel.

Then McCoy talked about Kelly’s explanation for the trade (money) vs Jeff Lurie’s explanation (running style).

“I read what he said in the media and I agree with it,” McCoy said of Lurie’s comments. “There’s nothing wrong with that. Chip felt like I wasn’t a fit for his offense. But why not say that?

“It’s hard to say that because if you turn on that tape when that [offense] isn’t going I make that [stuff] happen. You see, he can’t say that. But I think that’s how he felt.”

Kelly was trying to be protective of Shady. Ugh.

Kelly didn’t want to say something negative about his former player so he focused on the financial side of things. In Kelly’s mind, that was taking the high road and being supportive. If Kelly goes out there and talks about how Shady dances too much, that’s going to open a can of worms.

Players don’t like to leave a good situation. I don’t blame Shady for not being thrilled with things. It’s just funny to hear Kelly is anti-star. Something tells me he’d take Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson in the blink of an eye. I doubt Kelly would see JJ Watt is a guy he wanted nothing to do with.

Kelly wanted to change things. Shady wasn’t part of that plan. It just happens.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama wrote a good piece on the Eagles and age. The Eagles have 10 players age 30 or above, which is one of the highest totals in the league. Still, it’s not as bad as it sounds. 2 of them are the P and LS. Miles Austin, Brandon Bair and Allen Barbre are also on that list. Very expendable guys. The point is…this isn’t like Chip Kelly has let the whole team get old all at once (see the Giants of a couple of years ago).

Good nugget here.

• There’s a notion that the Eagles got older this offseason. That simply isn’t true. As noted above, the Eagles subtracted five players over the age of 30 this offseason. They only added one, Miles Austin.

Read the whole piece. Jimmy is the master of rosters and age.

Imagine if he ever writes about the Eagles media. Between Les, Roob and Domo…they go through Geritol like I do Funyuns.

* * * * *

The Eagles are showing interest in late round OLB prospect Obum Gwacham. He started off as a WR at Oregon State and eventually moved to defense. He’s raw, but has good size and serious athletic ability. The Eagles recently brought him to Philly and he wrote about the trip.

It was different. I didn’t really get a chance to explore the city too much. I got in, I woke up the next morning, met with the coaches, met with some of the other staff members. We did a little training exercise and a few other tests. Then, we got in the room with the linebackers coach, Coach (Bill) McGovern, and he went through some of the defensive plays with me. We had lunch, I came back later and met back with him and went through some film and kind of (went through) the plays that he taught me. After that, met with some other staff members, got a Philly cheese steak and was back in Oregon the next minute. It was a pretty quick, efficient trip.

It was my first time (at an NFL facility) and I was taking it all in. It was definitely a lot different. Walking around, there were a ton of Hall of Famers on the wall, a lot of old guys that have played in the league showing up on the wall. It’s just crazy walking by and seeing that they walked through those halls, as well.

They see me as a 3-4 linebacker. Just going through some of the film, it’s definitely I’d feel like I’d be very comfortable doing. Because I’ll show up on the line and then occasionally I’ll be dropping into coverage. It’s definitely that I’ve been working on and not something that I’m too worried about.

A few questions they asked was just would I play against certain things an offensive tackle might do to me or certain blocks an offensive lineman might do to me. I feel like I gave them the right answers, because they were nodding their heads and agreeing with me on those.

I felt like they’re the knd of staff I’d like to be around. When I was with Coach McGovern, I feel like I picked up the same vibe as when I took my visit to Oregon State. Everyone was very welcoming. Everyone there, they went out of their way to introduce themselves to me and all that. Coach McGovern, he seems like a very good coach. He seems like the kind of coach that I’d want coaching me.

Nothing really caught me off-guard. Going into it, I spoke to my agent and he kind of told me what to expect. And then the night before, I was given an itinerary with the activities that we would be doing. So I wouldn’t say anything really caught me off-guard. Going into it, Coach McGovern said they weren’t going to try to trick me.

They basically just told me to stay in football shape, because it’s gonna come really quick. As soon as the draft happens, it’s going to be the next season the next moment. Keep working out and not get out of shape. And when I do start learning all the stuff, I need to be very, very smart and comfrotable with it, because I’ll be coming in and trying to earn one of the veterans’ spots. That’s probably going to be a guy that’s been there for a while and has probably got the playbook down pat. Me, on the other hand, I don’t, so (McGovern) basically told me I need to really compete, because in order to make the team, you’ve got to take someone’s job. I told him I’m willing to do it. I’m definitely willing to work and put forth the effort in order to make that happen.

Gwacham would be a really interesting late round pick. He’s 6-5, 246. Runs 4.72 in the 40. 22 reps, despite having long arms. 36-inch vertical. Lacks ideal agility, but has good potential.

Here are some highlights.

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