Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic

Posted: April 26th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 490 Comments »

Sam Bradford wants out. I wonder if he’s just a huge fan of the German metal band Helloween and was trying to get me to link to this great video from the 80’s?

God, I miss the 1980s.

Anyway…back to Sam.

He wants out. Presumably he’s found somewhere else he’d rather go. Denver makes the most sense. They just won the Super Bowl. They have a terrific defense. They have a proven coach. They don’t have a QB.

So let’s say Sam now has buyer’s remorse and wishes he hadn’t re-signed with the Eagles. He sees Denver as a great place and wants to go there. His big selling point for wanting out of Philly is that they signed Chase Daniel to a big deal and are set to draft a franchise QB, albeit one who will sit for a year or two.

What’s going on with the Broncos and their QB situation?

Last year they had Hall of Famer Peyton Manning at the helm. He was struggling so they put in youngster Brock Osweiler. Manning was not happy.

Osweiler then struggled himself and was benched for Manning. Osweiler was not happy.

The defense became so dominant that it really didn’t matter who was at QB.

Once the offseason hit, Manning retired. Osweiler, so upset by the short leash they gave him as the starter, left to go sign with the Houston Texans. The Broncos only move so far has been to trade for Mark Sanchez, Sam’s old buddy from the Eagles.

Sam played well enough to deserve a reasonable deal from the Eagles. They gave him a very reasonable deal. And this was after very publicly scouting QBs at the Senior Bowl and Combine. The Eagles were never secretive about their desire to add a QB of the future.

Now Sam wants to be traded, most likely to a team that benched 2 QBs last year and angered them both to the point that neither wanted to come back. Peyton might have retired anyway, but the handling of the QB situation sealed the deal. We all thought Osweiler would re-sign for sure, but he chose to leave the Super Bowl champions for a team that has 2 playoff wins (both in the Wild Card round) in its history.

The Eagles don’t know how to treat QBs, but the Broncos do.

So now let’s see if the Broncos will give the Eagles a 3rd round pick this year…and maybe throw in a 2nd rounder in 2018. That’s when the Eagles have to give theirs to the Browns so they could use that future pick. Chase Daniel finally gets his chance to start.

And Sam better get off to a fast start or Mark Sanchez will be closer to getting his chance to get back on the field.

The 2016 Eagles weren’t going to be a great team, but they were going to be Sam Bradford’s team. I wonder if the same can be said for wherever he goes. He certainly will have a lot of questions to answer in the locker room. How is Sam supposed to handle playoff pressure if he’s scared off by Chase Daniel and a kid from North Dakota State?

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SammyGate

Posted: April 25th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 227 Comments »

I was away from the computer most of the day. Apparently I missed some stuff.

This is a joke, right?

Oh boy.

Lots of good tweets on this.

This is just an insane situation.

Bradford was getting good money to start for the Eagles in 2016. At the end of that, he would either be cut or traded…or possibly brought back for 2017. He was not going to be the long term answer unless he played so incredibly well that the Eagles had no choice but to keep him around.

Now Bradford has burned bridges with the front office and in the locker room. He could try to undo this mess by showing up and explaining that his agent was over-zealous with the trade talk, but that wouldn’t pass the smell test for most people.

Sam is acting like an entitled baby with this situation. He just came off a good 7-game stretch. That earned him a chance to come back this year. Nothing more. He didn’t play well enough for the Eagles, or any other team, to give him a mega-deal. He simply didn’t deserve that.

There were plenty of reasons to be encouraged about Bradford after last year and heading into this season, but this move really  hurts him. There will be incredible scrutiny on him with every word and action from here on out. He will be booed relentlessly if he stays with the Eagles.

Here is part of a piece by Charles Robinson of Yahoo.

Bradford’s emotions since the Eagles moved to the No. 2 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft – largely to secure a quarterback – have centered on anger and a resolve to solidify his standing as a long-term franchise quarterback, a source said. After the trade last week, the source said Bradford directly expressed his disappointment in a talk with some team officials, but he didn’t indicate a trade desire. Indeed, until Monday’s trade request, the source said Bradford appeared adamant that he was a viable long-term answer at quarterback.

That changed by the end of the weekend, when Bradford’s initial frustration with the Eagles’ draft move hardened during voluntary practices last week. Coming out of those sessions, the source said a question lingered into the weekend for Bradford, specifically whether he was being viewed as a team leader, or a placeholder for an incoming rookie quarterback. By Monday, he had considered his options and ultimately chose to ask the Eagles for a trade.

Philadelphia’s initial response was to deny the trade request, a league source said. That stance could change with Bradford relaying his intention to skip coach Doug Pederson’s offseason program and miss vital time learning the new offense.

I just don’t get this.

Bradford simply didn’t have the history/goodwill/power to pull a move like this. Know your place. If Bradford was coveted enough to simply get his way, he would have signed a bigger deal elsewhere.

Really disappointing that Sam pulled this stunt.

The Eagles now have to figure out if there is any logic to playing hardball with him or if they should work out a trade and just cut their losses.

One bit of advice…don’t touch another “high character” veteran who went to Oklahoma. After dealing with DeMarco Murray and Sam Bradford, I’d wipe that school off my scouting list. I know Lane Johnson has been a good Eagle, but he sure seems like the anomaly.

Ugh. I hate having to deal with a mess like this during draft week.

Let’s close with this beauty.

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Late Round DL

Posted: April 25th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 440 Comments »

Thank god the Eagles moved back to the 4-3. I forgot just how much fun it is to fall in love with athletic, 1-gap D-linemen.

I watched a player on Sunday night that I’d never heard of…Trevon Coley from Florida Atlantic.

Forget Megan Fox, I’m now in love with Trevon Coley.

Okay, that might be stretching things a bit, but this video got me so excited I sat here talking to myself for a good half hour. This kid’s agility is insane. Look at his Pro Day numbers:

PRO DAY RESULTS

40-yard dash: 4.93 seconds
Vertical: 29 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 8 feet, 9 inches
Short shuttle: 4.43 seconds
3-cone: 7.02 seconds
Bench: 22 reps of 225 pounds

That 3-cone time is shockingly good for a 304-pound DT. Only 11 CBs at the Combine were better than that.

Coley will go in rounds 5-7. He isn’t the most stout run defender. He won’t fit all systems. But man I think he would be fun to watch play in an attacking system…just like the Eagles run.

*****

Ever heard of Justin Zimmer?

I didn’t think so. He is a DL from Ferris State, a small school in Michigan. Zimmer led the team in tackles. He also had 26 TFLs (13 sacks). Check out his Pro Day:

Ferris State defensive tackle Justin Zimmer — 6-2 5/8, 302 — ran the 40 in 4.88 and 4.85 seconds. He had a 32-inch vertical and 9-foot-9 broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.4 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.01 seconds. Zimmer put the bar up an astonishing 44 times on the bench press (the top number at this year’s combine was 34, posted by Arizona State’s Christian Westerman). Zimmer had a great workout at the pro day, and could be a free-agent possibility for a team following the draft.

Are you kidding me? 44 reps and fast and agile?

I’m not going to link to his game tape. He’s so dominant that it is really hard to get much out of the tape. He played mostly DE in college. Zimmer has a DT build that Jim Schwartz would be interested in. And the fact he can also play DE makes him even more interesting.

He’s likely to go in the 6th or 7th.

*****

As far as edge rushers, Tyrone Holmes from Montana is my favorite guy. He’ll go in the 5 to 7 area.

James Cowser is interesting. Matt Judon is a small school guy that will probably go in the mid-rounds, but could slide a bit.

There are some really interesting DL for the Eagles to get, even without the 3rd/4th round picks they gave up. And there will be some good UDFAs as well.

I can’t wait to see who the team adds.

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Mock Draft Time

Posted: April 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 120 Comments »

The draft is just around the corner. I decided to do a mock draft for PE.com.

This isn’t my ideal scenario. I’ll be posting that here in a couple of days. I’m still watching tape of late round prospects as I try to figure out who the best 7th rounders might be.

Mock drafts are scenarios. This is one take of what might happen. In this one, I had the Eagles passing on a RB. That will sound crazy to some. Clearly the Eagles need a RB. I don’t like a lot of the guys in this RB class for the Eagles so I passed on the position.

The Eagles don’t need a change of pace RB. They don’t need a 3rd down back. They need someone capable of starting. I don’t think this class is loaded with those guys. Some of the RBs I do like for the Eagles:

1st round – Ezekiel Elliott

2nd round – no pick

3rd round – Devontae Booker, Paul Perkins, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Howard

4th round – no pick

5th round – Darius Jackson, Kelvin Taylor, Wendell Smallwood

Late – Peyton Barber, Tre Madden

Aside from Elliott, I don’t love any of the prospects. The Eagles might. They’ve shown interest in Jordan Howard, who is talented. I don’t like him nearly as much as others. I think he has stiff hips. There are those that love him.

There are usually 18 to 20 RBs drafted. That leaves several good RBs for the UDFA market each year. Chris Polk and Matt Tucker were good UDFA signings for the Eagles.

Peyton Barber could be a UDFA and I think he would be excellent value there or even as a late pick.

The Eagles will add at least one RB in the next week, whether UDFA or draft.

If they don’t land a player they think can help them out this year, the team could look for a veteran free agent. There are no great players available, but there are some interesting options.

Joique Bell
Bryce Brown
Reggie Bush
Arian Foster
Tim Hightower
Fred Jackson

We’d love the Eagles to find a future starter in the draft, but trading away the mid-round picks means the team won’t be able to fill every hole on the roster. With Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barber already in place, I don’t think the Eagles will force a move a RB in the draft.

As Jimmy Bama pointed out when writing why the Eagles shouldn’t take Elliott, there are a lot of talented RBs coming out in the next year or two.

Again, there is no question that he is a great player. However, there is an absurd number of really good sophomore running backs who will be eligible to enter the NFL Draft in 2017. A quick list:

• Leonard Fournette, LSU: Beast of a human being, ran for 1953 yards and 22 TDs on 6.5 yards per carry in 2015.

• Dalvin Cook, Florida State: Ran for 1691 yards and 19 TDs in 2015 on 7.4 yards per carry.

• Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: One of three Heisman finalists in 2015, ran for 2019 rushing yards and 8 TDs, added 45 catches for 645 yards and 5 TDs, returned a kick for a TD, returned a punt for a TD, and threw 2 TD passes.

Royce Freeman, Oregon: Ran for 1836 yards and 17 TDs on 6.5 yards per carry. In 2014, as a freshman, he ran for 1365 yards and 18 TDs.

• Nick Chubb, Georgia: Ran for 1547 yards and 14 TDs on 7.1 yards per carry as a freshman, and then 747 yards and 7 TDs on 8.1 yards per carry before suffering a serious leg injury in the Bulldogs’ sixth game.

• Samaje Perine, Oklahoma: Ran for 1713 yards and 21 TDs on 6.5 yards per carry as a freshman, and then 1349 yards and 16 TDs on 6.0 yards per carry as a sophomore.

And then there’s Wisconsin’s Corey Clement, Pitt’s James Conner, and Baylor’s Shock Linwood, who will all be highly regarded seniors in 2016.

Missing out on a RB this year would not be the worst thing in the world.

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Mayock’s Take

Posted: April 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 199 Comments »

Mike Mayock offered some thoughts on the Eagles and the draft recently on a conference call with the media.  PE.com has the comments.

“The first guy I looked at was Goff,” said Mayock when discussing when he started watching film on the pair. “After I watched four games of Goff I said ‘I think this is going to be my first guy. I think this is going to be my top quarterback.’ I liked everything about Jared Goff. I thought he was a top ten pick in just about any draft.”

“About a week later, I put in the first tape of Carson Wentz and it was against Northern Iowa, and I remember it like it was yesterday, I was like ‘Holy crap, that is a great tape. I hope the next one is as good.’ And the next one was as good, as was the next one, so right away I knew that we had a first-round quarterback on our hands and you needed to figure the kid out. Senior Bowl, best quarterback there. Combine, outstanding. The pro day really sold me on the kid just because of the way he was with his coaches and teammates and the respect he earned, the intelligence of the kid, the intangibles that helped make him, so he’s always been my number one quarterback since back in the fall. He crossed off every checkmark since.”

After going through all of the tape and getting to know both of the top quarterback prospects, Mayock came away very, very impressed with the duo, so much so that he even dealt with his fair share of criticism for how highly he regarded them.

“I took a lot of abuse a month or two ago for saying that I though Wentz and Goff were every bit in the conversation with last year’s Mariota and Winston, and I still believe it and apparently two other NFL teams do if they’re willing to give up that kind of fire power to move up to get those guys,” said Mayock.

While Mayock has studied each quarterback extensively, he’s spent a lot of time with Wentz, examing how he handles himself both on and off the football field. When asked if Wentz would fit well in Philadelphia if he is indeed the No. 2 pick, Mayock sees a good fit.

“People came away (from the Scouting Combine) buzzing about this Carson Wentz kid,” Mayock explained. “I go to his pro day in Fargo, North Dakota. I spend a day and a half. His teammates love him. His coaching staff love him. He has more freedom at the line of scrimmage for a college quarterback than anybody I’ve seen since Andrew Luck.

“He changes the plays, he’s never gotten a B in school, he’s intelligent, he’s got a great work ethic, he loves the game of football and if you’re talking about having a passion and being the face of a franchise, this is the kid and I do believe he could handle Philadelphia because he’ll work so hard and be so humble, I think the blue-collar Philly fans (would) love him.”

Man, Mayock really loves Wentz.

Part of the fun of talking about the draft is the different opinions on guys. I prefer Jared Goff over Wentz, but respect the heck out of Mayock and like the fact he sees this differently than me.

Mayock does make a compelling case for Wentz. The description above reminds me a lot of Andrew Luck.

Good QB
Good leader
Good student
Good person
Good athlete

That sounds like a guy you would want to build your franchise around.

Luck was different because he played at Stanford and also had been around the game of football his whole life (his father Oliver was an NFL QB). Luck had tremendous pressure on him throughout his career. That helped prepare him for life in the NFL. Wentz flew under the radar in high school and for most of college. He’s adjusted well to the spotlight, but things will only get more intense once he’s picked and a particular fanbase begins to live and die with him on a daily basis.

Mayock was asked to share his thoughts on possible OL targets for the 3rd round pick.

“I think with third round value a guy that’s rising, especially with coaches around the league … (Halapoulivaati) Vaitai, Big V they call him from TCU. He could go in the third or fourth round, can play both sides, offensive coaches around the league love him. Shon Coleman from Auburn could be there but he’ll probably be gone. Jerald Hawkins from LSU, more of a left tackle, narrow base, probably not as powerful as you’d like for a right tackle, and then some guys that I have in the fourth round but might go in the third are Caleb Benonoch from UCLA, a guy on the rise Alex Lewis from Nebraska, he could very well be a third-round tackle. I think they’re probably the logical conversation.”

I’ve liked Vaitai for a while. I had him to the Eagles when I did a mock draft for PE.com. At the time, I had him in the 7th. That felt low, but there wasn’t any buzz on Vaitai at the time.

He would make sense for the Eagles because he is 6-6, 320 and can play LT or RT. That’s a big, powerful frame. He also has good feet.

I also had Benenoch to the Eagles in that mock draft. He’s younger and less experienced, but shows a lot of potential. He is a better run blocker, while Vaitai is the better pass protector.

Shon Coleman played LT at Auburn. He could play LT or LG in the NFL. He’s a very good run blocker, but needs work on his pass protection.

The Eagles don’t have to grab an OL in the 3rd round. It just feels like that is a strong possibility, since they still could use OL help and this is a very deep position in the draft.

*****

Back to Wentz for a second.

Here is something I wrote about him during the Senior Bowl.

Wednesday was a cold, wet, windy day. I sat with Steelers and Packers scouts and they were griping about how cold it was. I don’t mean that as a dig at them. But if people from Pittsburgh and Green Bay are cold, you know it’s nasty weather.

Those conditions didn’t mean a thing to Carson Wentz. He had another outstanding day. There is something funny about looking at the field and seeing the huge, star QB being from North Dakota State while the small scrappy guy is from USC. Something backward about that.

Wentz looks like the real deal, in terms of size and play. His passes cut through the cold winds of Mobile with no issues. Compare that to Cody Kessler, the USC kid. His passes were obviously slower. He doesn’t have the ability to drive the ball the way Wentz does.

And Wentz doesn’t have to put his body completely behind the throws. He looks natural. He does things with ease. There were times Kevin Hogan made some impressive throws, but he had to really get behind the ball. You won’t always have a clean pocket and obvious target so you can’t count on being able to make throws that way.

The most impressive throw by Wentz came when he put the ball over an underneath defender, but in front of the Safety. The WR was along the sideline. He was open, but still somewhat in traffic. Wentz showed good vision in seeing him there and then made the throw, which combined velocity, ball control and accuracy. You can’t gun that in since the ball has to go over a defender, but it still needs zip so the S can’t close on it. Wentz did that with ease. That’s an NFL throw.

It would be fun to have a QB that is such a naturally gifted passer.

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