Always Looking

Posted: May 14th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles have methodically worked to take care of holes in their depth chart. Howie Roseman made another strong move on Monday.

Interior OL depth was a concern, but that problem just got taken care of. Wiz can play both G and C.

With Brandon Brooks out, Wiz may get penciled in at RG for now. Or the Eagles could stick with Matt Pryor in that role. We’ve also heard some mentions of Big V possibly getting a look there.

Wiz is even more important because can back-up Jason Kelce at center. Previously, you had Anthony Fabiano and UDFA Keegan Render behind Kelce. That’s less than ideal.

Look at the key OL for now.

LT – Jason Peters ……. Andre Dillard
LG – Isaac Seumalo
OC – Jason Kelce …… Stefen Wisniewski
RG – H. Vaitai ………. Matt Pryor ……………Brandon Brooks
RT – Lane Johnson …. Jordan Mailata

That group is talented and experienced. The team has seven players who have started 10 or more games for them, plus a first round draft pick. That is about as deep and talented an O-line as you will find in the league.

The Eagles have some talented prospects beyond those guys.

G/T Ryan Bates
G/C Sua Opeta
G/T Nate Herbig
C/G Keegan Render
C/G Anthony Fabiano
T/G Tyreek Burwell

If any of those guys can show good ability this summer, the Eagles would be thrilled. That would give them young talent to develop for the future. Peters is probably in his final season. Big V is a free agent at the end of the year. Wiz signed a one-year deal. The Eagles will have good starters in place, but they will need depth.

Back to Wiz.

He signed for $1.5M, with a chance to make another $500K in playing time bonuses. I’m sure he was hoping to land somewhere as a starter, but that didn’t pan out. The Eagles had to be thrilled to get him back, since he is a versatile veteran and knows the system.

Wiz delivered a great moments in the playoff win over the Falcons back in 2017.

That is just beautiful.

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The Eagles were able to get Wiz back at a reduced rate. Ditto for Tim Jernigan. Vinny Curry returned to the Eagles for a cheap deal. Ronald Darby stuck around for less than he expected to get. Rodney McLeod took a pay cut to keep his job.

These signings have worked out really well for the Eagles, giving them great depth at a reasonable cost.

There is one potential downside. The 2017 team had great chemistry. The players got along and brought out the best in each other. You wonder if any of these players are bitter, having not gotten the kind of free agent money they hoped for.

Maybe these players are happy that the Eagles gave them an offer. Maybe there won’t be any hard feelings. I certainly hope that’s the case. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this or if this team also has great chemistry.

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Eagles Add a QB

Posted: May 12th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Howie Roseman is always on the lookout for talent.

Let’s start by talking about Kessler. He was drafted in the 3rd round back in 2016, after a solid career at USC. I was not a huge fan of his as a prospect. Kessler just wasn’t special in any way.

Kessler started eight games as a rookie. He posted okay numbers, but the team did go 0-8. Six of those losses were by 14 or more points. Those teams weren’t exactly dialing up their best gameplans for Kessler. He faced his share of prevent defenses.

Kessler started four games last year for the Jaguars. He went 2-2, but posted poor numbers.

So what do the Eagles see in him? Kessler just turned 26. He has started 12 career games. He does have some athletic ability. He can throw on the move. The biggest knock on him physically is that he’s got a mediocre arm. I haven’t watched a ton of his NFL tape, but he seems to hold the ball too long at times. The Eagles can’t do anything about his arm, but they can work on his game this spring and summer to help him improve as a passer.

The timing of this move is interesting.

Did the Eagles see something in the rookie minicamp that worried them?

Luis Perez came over from the AAF to challenge for a backup role. If the Eagles didn’t like what they saw, maybe that pushed them to make the signing.

On the other hand, Kessler was just released three days ago. Maybe he is the kind of young, cheap veteran the Eagles have been waiting for. They didn’t seem to have any interest in paying big money to Ryan Fitzpatrick or someone of that caliber.

Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld are the primary QBs. Rookie Clayton Thorson is likely to get the #3 spot. The Eagles spent a fifth round pick on him. Those players almost always make the roster. Kessler is here to push Thorson, and to a lesser extent, Sudfeld. As for Perez, this isn’t a good sign for him.

You always want competition. The Eagles have a great starter in Wentz. They have a young backup in Sudfeld that they’ve been developing for a couple of years. Things are less certain after that. Kessler has NFL experience. Perez has AAF experience. And Thorson is the rookie in the mix. Those backups will battle it out to see who gets to be the third QB.

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Mike Kaye wrote a good piece on LB Alex Singleton, the CFL star who is trying to make the Eagles roster.

LB is another spot where the Eagles want plenty of competition. The team knows the top couple of guys, but things are wide open after that. Players have to win jobs.

*****

Go Sixers!!!

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Rookie Talk

Posted: May 11th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles are having a rookie minicamp this weekend. There are a few non-rookies, but these are still young players. What is going on? A lot of teaching. Players are learning the scheme. They are getting a tutorial in fundamentals.

These are non-contact practices and none of them really know the schemes so this is nothing like Training Camp. This is very basic football.

College coaches do a terrific job with kids, but they have serious time limits and have to focus on winning games. NFL coaches can teach on a more in-depth level. These coaches are the best of the best and they know every little trick in the book. If you could watch the practices, you would probably find them boring. But they do have value for the young players. These guys need every rep possible.

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Liggins is a big, athletic CB. He went to a small school (Dickinson State) and those guys always have an uphill battle. Liggins has legit size and speed. We don’t know if he has NFL ability. We’ll find that out. He’s certainly the kind of prospect you want to spend some time trying to develop. The scrappy Big Ten corner with okay size and okay athleticism is available every year for eternity. Take a chance on the player with a great size/speed combo, especially when he’s only scratching the surface of his potential.

This note from Bo Wulf is hilarious. And very, very frightening.

We have to pray that worst case scenario doesn’t happen.

*****

Sounds like Big V will get some time at OG.

Sounds like Dillard will focus on LT and Mailata will play both LT and RT.

Just hints at this point. We’ll have to wait until the players actually get on the field to find out for sure.

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These guys are long shots. But a couple of quick thoughts…

The Eagles worked out DT Mike Ramsasy in the spring of 2018. He had 5.5 sacks as a senior at Duke and is a good 1-gap DT. Scheme fit. Is he athletic enough?

Nick Linder has played G and C. The Eagles are wide open in those spots. Linder was impressive at the Shrine Game.

https://twitter.com/IndianaFootball/status/1112175623965999104

In case you are worried about the lack of WVa rookies, Jovon Durante played there for three years before finishing his career at FAU.

Weston Steelhammer spent the last two years serving a commitment to the Air Force.

Asantay Brown spent some time with the Eagles last year so he knows his way around.

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Interesting to see this. The Eagles are wide open at PR. Arcega-Whiteside wasn’t a returner in college, but things are different in the NFL. There are only 53 roster spots. Everybody has to do as much as possible.

I don’t think JJAW has the elusiveness to be a good PR, but give him a shot. Let’s see how he does.

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Inked

Posted: May 9th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Man, the days of rookie holdouts are lone gone.

All of the rookies signed deals on Thursday. No drama, just business. These guys can now concentrate on football. That’s enough of a challenge for young players trying to adjust to pro football.

We also got the official list of UDFAs.

We had talked about 14 signees earlier, but we don’t know if some of those guys are tryouts or if they just went elsewhere. And RB Nico Evans is new to me. I somehow missed him from the earlier reports.

This is a good class. All of these players have a legit shot to push for a roster or practice squad spot. Only a couple will pan out, but there aren’t any pure camp bodies in this group.

I’ll re-post my UDFA notes at the bottom for anyone who missed them earlier.

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Let’s talk about Nico Evans. He was a 5-9, 211 standout RB for Wyoming this season. He ran for 1,325 yards and 8 TDs. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Good Sign

Posted: May 9th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Pro football is a business. We don’t always focus on that. We follow the Eagles for life, while players come and go based on business decisions. Mostly, anyway. There are some exceptions and the Eagles tend to do well in those situations. Just look at this offseason.

The Eagles traded for DeSean Jackson, but he wanted to come back to Philly. This was his preferred destination. He’s reportedly wanted to come back here for a few years. The circumstances just finally worked out.

Vinny Curry came back to Philly after the Bucs cut him. He is from the area and that certainly is a factor, but Curry didn’t even bother talking to other teams. He couldn’t wait to get back to Philly. Heck, he didn’t want to leave in the first place.

Tim Jernigan re-signed with the team, and at a reduced rate. He was on the market for a while. We don’t know if he talked to other teams seriously, but he decided staying in Philly was best for him.

Brandon Graham didn’t even test the market. He signed a reasonable deal and will likely finish his career as an Eagle. Graham had no interest in leaving, but wanted to make sure he got good money out of his final big contract. He probably would have gotten more on the open market, but got enough from the Eagles that it allowed him to stay, which was important to him.

Ronald Darby decided he wanted to play in Philly this year. He did look around a bit and saw this as his best option. He’s coming off an ACL injury and didn’t get the offers he wanted, but I still wondered if he might go elsewhere.

Rodney McLeod took a pay cut to stay here. Like Darby, he’s coming off an injury and that took away any bargaining power.

When someone leaves the Eagles, it is a player they usually aren’t all that interested in keeping. The team wasn’t willing to commit big money to Jordan Hicks so off he went. Nick Foles wanted to be a starting QB. That wasn’t going to happen here, so off he went. Golden Tate wasn’t in any long term plans, so off he went.

Philly has become a place that players want to be. The money has to be right, but the Eagles aren’t like some other teams that have to out-bid others to have any shot. Players genuinely want to be here.

Jeffrey Lurie gets a lot of credit for running a first class organization. Some owners obsess on the bottom-line. Lurie is more focused on winning. He spends big on the facilities, the front office staff, the scouting staff and the coaching staff. He invests big money in the team’s website. Lurie wants a good product, on and off the field.

Doug Pederson is important as well. He’s quickly built a good reputation around the league. I think players see him as a players coach and also as a genuine guy. I’m sure many of them love the fact that Pederson is a former NFL player and that gives him a unique perspective.

Don’t overlook the Carson Wentz factor. Players want to go somewhere there is a franchise QB. That means you have a chance to win big.

Eagles players seem happy. You know Lane Johnson is having a good time all the time. Jason Kelce’s speech had to really connect with the underdog players of the league. How could they not love that? Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox always seem to be smiling. The Eagles seem to have a lot of fun. I think that matters to players.

There is also the Malcolm Jenkins factor. The Eagles let him speak his mind and fight for his causes. Some teams try to tell their players how to act. That’s not the case in Philly. Lurie and Pederson let the players be individuals. They are supportive of the players.

I’m not trying to tell you the Eagles are perfect and every player in the league is dying to come to Philly. But I do think the Eagles are one of the teams that players do want to play for. Great city. Passionate fans. Strong owner. Smart, aggressive and fun coach. Winning organization. There really is a lot to like.

Some of you won’t see this as a big deal. I’ve been a fan for a long time. Back in the late 90’s, players would use the Eagles as a threat. Free agents would go to their first stop and negotiate with their preferred team. They would then have a visit scheduled with the Eagles, but with no intention of actually signing. They just wanted to use the Eagles as leverage in negotiations. And it worked for several guys.

Those were dark days.

So now when I see players who really want to be here, that gets my attention.

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