Trade Winds Blowing?

Posted: October 25th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 243 Comments »

Not your normal midseason Monday.

Okay, you’ve got my attention. Nothing imminent, though.

Interesting. SF is having a terrible year. Smith isn’t producing for them and doesn’t have a great contract. It makes total sense for them to try and move him to add something in return and get out of that deal. Trying to figure out the compensation is tricky. Smith is too good to get for just a conditional 7th or something like that, but his contract isn’t friendly so they won’t get a lot in return.

Plenty of people have mentioned dealing Josh Huff or Nelson Agholor. Huff is a role player and good STer. He’s got another full season on his rookie deal so there is an argument for keeping him. I think the team still likes Agholor and wants to see if he can develop. Would trading Bryce Treggs back to SF be enough? There aren’t a lot of obvious candidates.

Maybe a 5th or 6th round pick would do the job. We’ll have to wait and see. The interesting part of this is the Eagles and Niners talking. Howie Roseman has no problem making a deal with anyone. I don’t think Chip is petty enough to be that way either, but we’ll have to wait and see. I know Chip isn’t the GM out there, but you can bet he’s got a big say in the moves they make.

Smith would be a good addition. Just look at his speed.

For his career prior to this half-season, Smith averages 49-851-7. He averages more than 17 yards per reception. If you play off, he can catch the ball and turn that into a big play. If you press, he can run by you. He’s got the kind of legit speed this offense could use. I’d like to see this happen if the price is right.

There is no question that the Eagles need better play from their WRs. Part of the problem is Wentz. No matter how talented a rookie, you’re still a rookie. Smith would provide you with speed and that’s something the Eagles just don’t have enough of right now.

Howie is an aggressive GM and with the Eagles off to a better start than anyone anticipated, it would make sense for him to see about making a deal that can strengthen the team. There is no need to go after an older guy, but Smith is 27 and still has a bright future. He makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways for this Eagles offense that is suddenly struggling to throw the ball.


Not so sure on this one. Jeffrey is playing under the franchise tag (about $15M). He walks at the end of the year or gets a mega-deal.

Remember that La Canfora and Roseman are friendly. Could be Howie floating this rumor out there to help his negotiating power with the Niners in regard to Smith.

Then again, Howie has made some bold moves this year. Maybe he sees Jeffrey as a chance to add a potentially elite receiver for his young QB. It isn’t an absolute necessity to have one of those, but it can be a big help. Again, compensation would be tricky. Jeffrey’s pending free agency hurts his value, but the guy is having a good season (32-520) with less than ideal QB play. He can be a foundational receiver, the kind of guy you build a passing game around. Smith isn’t that type of guy.

Jeffrey feels like more of a longshot, but we’ll see.


When Ron Brooks went to IR, that opened up a spot. Bennie Logan isn’t fully healthy so the Eagles added a body at DT. Hart played very well this summer and is a player they really wanted to keep. He just got caught in a numbers crunch. I know that doesn’t mesh with ridding the roster of Chip’s guys, but that’s always been more of a ridiculous narrative than reality. Good players are good players. You don’t care where they came from.

Grymes needs to show that he can play so the practice squad makes a lot of sense for him.

The Eagles should be okay at CB with McKelvin, Carroll, Mills and Smith. They can also have Malcolm Jenkins play the slot if they want. Smith does need to show that he can play and contribute.


Wise Coach

Posted: October 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 177 Comments »

Doug Pederson is a rookie coach and has such a limited background that we don’t have much to judge him on. We’re basically learning who he is and how he does things as the season goes along. So far, he’s done a fantastic job coaching this team.

Last week I wrote about his message to the team after the ugly loss to the Skins. I said Pederson would keep things positive and sure enough that’s exactly what he did. Pederson learned from Andy Reid, who studied Bill Walsh. Ranting and raving to appease fans or the media just wasn’t going to happen. There was a time and place for that, but it had to be the right situation.

I thought Pederson would stay positive because it would send the right message to his team. You focus on the fact the problems are about execution and not talent. That tells the group of players that you believe in them. The answers are in that room, not in next year’s free agents or draft class. You help your players stay confident by showing you’re confident in them.

On Sunday Pederson backed up those words with actions. The Eagles scored a TD to go up 6-3. On the extra point attempt, MIN roughed the kicker. That gave Pederson the option of how to use the penalty. He had the ball put at the 2-yard line and went for the 2-point conversion. Carson Wentz powered his way into the end zone and the Eagles led 8-3.

There isn’t a ton of conventional logic to that. Whether up 7-3 or 8-3, it takes a TD to beat you. Was the one point worth the risk? Pederson knew the Vikings were a stingy defense and just felt any chance to add points had to be taken. I also think he was trying to keep his players confident.

Late in the half the Eagles faced 4th/2 from the MIN 44-yard line. I thought Pederson should punt. That would pin the Vikings deep and there wasn’t much chance they would mount a long TD drive with 1:15 on the clock. Pederson had Wentz try to draw them offside. When that didn’t work, he called a timeout. He then sent Wentz and the offense back on the field. He wanted the first down. He wanted more points. He also wanted to hammer home the message to the players that “I believe in you.”

Think about how often coaches punt. We saw Chip Kelly punt from inside the 40 a few times. Unless it is 4th/long, that always seemed a bit crazy. Coaches obsess on field position and conventional wisdom. Listen, there is no question that pinning a team deep does lessen their chance to score, but you aren’t exactly building up the confidence in your offense. You don’t want to be reckless, but you also don’t want to be scared of taking chances.

Pederson has shown that he wants to be aggressive. I don’t agree with all of his decisions, but that’s probably because I’ve studied coaches who went the conventional wisdom route for years and years. I do not think he’s been reckless at all.

This is somewhat of an unusual team. You have a rookie QB and a lot of young talent, but also key veterans like Jason Peters, Brent Celek, Connor Barwin and Allen Barbre. Those guys want to win now. This isn’t all about building for the future. This is about winning as much as you can in 2016. Pederson has to send the right message to both groups of players. He’s developing the young guys and trying to keep the veterans positive and focused. That’s not always easy, but Pederson has really pushed all the right buttons so far this year.

Now he has the Ryan Mathews situation to deal with. Outsiders would bench, maybe cut the guy. Pederson, being a former player, has tried to show his guys that he believes in them by letting them work through mistakes. He could have easily benched Vaitai last week, but didn’t. He’s been patient with the WRs. It will be interesting to see what he does with Mathews. Maybe he sticks with him until late in the game. Or maybe he does cut back on using him. One late game fumble can be forgiven. Two is a different story. That can be forgiven as well, but not as easily and it might not happen. A lot of things go into an interception. Fumbles are usually all on the person with the ball.

Part of the equation is what the locker room thinks of Mathews. Do his teammates love him? Is he a key guy? Is he a loner? Not all situations are the same. You are going to be more patient with someone who is a key part of the team and a key part of the locker room. I don’t know if Mathews is that guy?

Personally, I’d like to get Wendell Smallwood more touches. He shows better vision and better burst than Mathews right now. Let’s see what the young guy can do.

Pederson may not address the situation publicly, but we’ll see in his actions in the next few weeks what his decision with Mathews is. This is another challenge for Pederson, but so far he’s been outstanding with handling everything that has come his way. He’s certainly earned my confidence with his decision-making.

Arguably the best thing you can say about a coach is that he makes his team better through his leadership and his game management. So far Pederson has been outstanding on both fronts. He deserves an A+ for his work to this point.


Birds Bash Bradford

Posted: October 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 152 Comments »

The Eagles won the game 21-10. They dominated the line of scrimmage.

Sam Bradford was sacked 6 times. FOX had him getting hit 19 times (and that was late in the game…don’t know final tally). Bradford was under almost constant pressure. He fumbled the ball 4 times, losing 2 of them. He was picked off once, and that was in the end zone. He finished the game 24-41-224 with 1 TD (in garbage time) and 1 INT. This was easily Bradford’s worst game of the year. That pick was his first of the season.

The Vikings averaged 3.4 yards per carry and ran for 93 yards. They were stuffed on 3rd/1 and 4th/1 inside the 10-yard line.

Carson Wentz wasn’t sacked. The Eagles ran for 101 yards (3.9 ypc).

The Eagles DL didn’t have a sack last week and struggled against the run. They played without Bennie Logan today, but you wouldn’t have known that. Connor Barwin had a key strip sack and probably played his best game of the year. Brandon Graham was a force off the edge. It looked to me like Vinny Curry got penetration on the 4th/1 run that got stuffed. Beau Allen was in on 3 tackles and recovered a fumble. I am disappointed that he didn’t run that back for a score. Fat Guy TDs are better than even homemade chocolate pudding.

I need to see the tape to really know how the OL played.

That is impressive, but I do need to see just how much help the coaches gave to Vaitai and the OL overall. Halapoulivaati Vaitai only got his name called a couple of times. He played better than last week. Might be going too far to say he had a good game, but I’m happy with the fact he showed progress. Stefen Wisniewski had to take over for Brandon Brooks at RG for a little while due to injury. Jason Peters got replaced by Matt Tobin for a lot of the 4th Qtr. Brooks came back into the game so he should be okay. Peters stood on the sideline and looked pretty calm, which leads me to think he’s probably okay.

Carson Wentz did not have a good game. He started slow, but did make some key plays to help the team win. He knows he forced some passes and is responsible for 2 INTs. Young QBs are going to make mistakes. You need them to take ownership and then work to correct them.

There was another bad moment late in the game with Ryan Mathews losing a fumble. It cost the Eagles 7 points, but more importantly it killed any confidence in giving him the ball late in games. Right now you have to trust rookie Wendell Smallwood more than Mathews.

Possibly the biggest play of the game came on STs. Minnesota went up 3-0 and then kicked off. Josh Huff caught the ball at the 2-yard line and then exploded up the field. He got good blocking and then ran through the pathetic tackle attempt by the kicker. 98-yard TD and The Linc really came alive. The Eagles led the rest of the game. The Vikings had barely trailed before today’s game. Their offense is not suited to playing from behind.

This really was an unusual game. The teams combined for 8 turnovers. There were a lot of strange moments. Just when one team appeared to be sitting pretty, the other team would make a huge play and steal the moment away. And then the very next play might be just the opposite. This was an ugly game. It is encouraging that the Eagles found a way to win. Their 3-0 start was mistake-free, good football. Today Wentz and his teammates overcame mistakes and made just enough plays to pull out the win.

There are no more undefeated teams this year as the Vikings fall to 5-1. The Eagles are now 4-2 and in 2nd place in the NFC East. They can regain the division lead if they beat Dallas next week. Enjoy the win over the Vikings for at least today. There will be plenty of time to hate Dallas between now and next Sunday night.


Halftime – PHI 11, MIN 3

Posted: October 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 376 Comments »

What a strange game.

Both teams do a great job of protecting the ball. So of course they combine for 6 turnovers in the 1st half. Each team has roughed the kicker. There have been dropped passes. Missed open receivers. PI calls that didn’t get made. A KOR for a TD. Oh yeah, and a 2-point conversion.

But other than that, nothing happened.

Carson Wentz is not having a good day. He’s just a bit sloppy and his accuracy has been off.

The Eagles defense has been outstanding. This is the kind of bounce-back game we needed to see from Jim Schwartz and his guys. They are playing the run well and really beating up Sam Bradford.

Josh Huff made the play of the game when he returned a KO for a score.

We’ll find out if the Eagles can win ugly. Penalties are down, which is good. And the Eagles aren’t playing from behind. That helps a lot.


Gameday – MIN at PHI

Posted: October 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 530 Comments »

First, a site note. I was out of town for a wedding for the past few days. That kept me from posting my normal material. I never got to put up a review of the Skins game or do much writing about the Vikings. The wedding was awesome, but it makes life tough in football season. I should be on a normal schedule from here on out.

I wrote a preview of the Vikings game for

It is funny that the Eagles have lost 2 in a row and take on the undefeated Vikings, but a lot of people see this as a problem spot for Minnesota. I was driving this morning and heard Mike Florio talk about the game. He thinks the Eagles have a very good shot to win. I’ve heard and read a few other things where analysts think the Eagles can win this game.

And I agree.

I don’t have a sense of dread despite going against an undefeated team. Normally that would really bug me, but there is something about this game and these matchups that makes me feel good about the Eagles.

The Eagles will be without Bennie Logan, which is never a good thing. Beau Allen will need to play well in his place.

Sam Bradford has no INTs this year. Today would be an ideal time to change that. The Vikings haven’t really been tested. It would be great if the Eagles could get on the board early and either play from ahead or keep it a close game. Falling down 14-0 the last 2 weeks really hurt the Eagles. You do not want to do that against this defense.

As great as it would be to see the Eagles win this game, I think it is just as important to see them play well. They were a mess last week. You want to nip that in the bud and get back to playing good football.