Changes in Year 2

Posted: July 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

Chip Kelly took over the Eagles in 2013 and was charged with the task of creating the football program that he wanted. Kelly has very specific ideas of how things should be done. He needed the right kind of players to both win on the field and to establish his overall ideas.

Who expected Jeff Maehl to be an Eagle? Who expected Will Murphy to be on the practice squad? Who expected Isaac Remington to be on the practice squad? Was Casey Matthews really the best backup LOLB the Eagles could find?

Chip Kelly wasn’t showing Oregon favoritism. He was trying to have players on the roster/team who knew about his ideas and his systems. Those players could help others around them. There is no way that Will Murphy was the best available WR when the Eagles added him. However, he was the best available WR for the Eagles because of his experience with Kelly.

Last year the players had to learn the Kelly way. That affected who the Eagles had on the roster.

This year will be different.

There are  a lot of returning players. They know the Kelly way. Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin can teach Jordan Matthews what Kelly is looking for. That makes Will Murphy less valuable. I think you’re going to see a lot of  turnover on the bottom of the roster. If Murphy and Maehl want to be Eagles this year, they are going to have to clearly outplay guys like Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson and BJ Cunningham. Maybe that happens, but don’t count on it.

Casey Matthews is hanging onto the roster by a thread. He would need to have a phenomenal showing to keep his job. I’m not even sure a slew of injuries is enough to keep him around.

The standards for making the team will be more about talent and what you can do on the field than experience with Kelly. That doesn’t mean character isn’t a factor. Kelly still wants the right kind of player. But he’s not going to feel the need to keep his guys around since now the Eagles are full of his guys.

While most of the change will be on the bottom of the roster, you wonder about what happened with other players. DeSean Jackson didn’t fit in and that played some part in his departure. You wonder if Bryce Brown was traded in part due to not being a good fit. He was awkward on the field, but we haven’t heard anything about him off the field.

I wonder about Mike Vick. He wanted out because he wanted to go somewhere to have a chance to start. Did Kelly have any interest in bringing him back or was he not a good fit?

Chip Kelly will continue working on the roster and trying to get it just right. Football involves so much change that you can never get a group of guys and feel set. There will always be players coming and going. This year you’ll see some Oregon guys heading off the bottom of the roster.

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Choose One

Posted: July 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 99 Comments »

I’m getting ready to hop on an airplane so I don’t have time to right out a full post. Instead I’m going to pose an interesting question that popped in my head recently…if you could add a former Eagle to this team, who would it be?

I think most people will boil it down to 1 of 2 players, Reggie or Dawk.

Reggie would be able to play LDE in the 3-4 and he would give the OL someone to fear on run and pass downs. The coaches could move him around the line in sub-packages and find good matchups for him. Reggie is also the kind of high character player that Chip would absolutely love.

Dawk would add a presence to the middle of the defense that has been lacking since he left. He could blitz, cover and fly around the field making plays. And I think Chip would love coaching a guy like Dawk.

This feels like an almost impossible choice. Both are Eagles legends. Both would help the current team in a big way.

I’m going with Reggie because he’s my favorite player of all time and I always go for a DL over a DB.

Who would you choose?

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Any other players you’d especially love to see on this team?

If Terrell Owens had his head on straight, he’d be ideal for the Kelly offense. Think Harold Carmichael would be of interest to Chip Kelly?

I’d love to see a guy like Byron Evans roaming the middle. And Seth Joyner might make a darn good 3-4 ILB.

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Nick Foles Under Pressure

Posted: July 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 33 Comments »

Really cool video here. These are a lot of throws where Nick Foles is under pressure and responds well. Some of the pressure is immediate, but on other plays Foles is holding the ball and waiting for someone to come open.

Some really impressive plays and throws.

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Biggest Rival

Posted: July 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 116 Comments »

I hate the Dallas Cowboys more than any other NFL team. To me, they are the biggest rival for the Eagles. Beating them makes the sun a little brighter, the PBR a little colder and the Funyuns a little Funyunier.

But I know some of you feel differently.

If you live near Giants fans, that makes Big Blue all the more fun to hate. Or maybe you’re down near DC and have to deal with Skins fans. You might see them as the biggest rival. I can’t imagine any team outside the division is considered a truly bitter rival at this point. I know some hate the Patriots for beating the Eagles in the Super Bowl. I know some people hate the Steelers since they are in western PA with a handful of Super Bowl rings.

So who do you think of as the Eagles biggest rival?

Who else do you hate?

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Any Interest in Andre Johnson?

Posted: July 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 34 Comments »

There is a strange situation going on in Houston. Star WR Andre Johnson wasn’t thrilled when the team made a coaching change. He read this as a rebuilding phase and since he’ll be 33 this season didn’t want any part of that. After meeting with coach Bill O’Brien, Johnson changed his mind. He wanted to mend fences with the team. That’s when things went strange. Per PFT:

If the Texans could have brought receiverAndre Johnson back into the fold by simply giving him a way to earn back the $1 million roster bonus he had forfeited by skipping the early phases of the offseason program, why didn’t they?

Before delving into the question, consider this.  It’s true and accurate, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, that Johnson offered to show up for OTAs and minicamp in exchange for a way to earn back the $1 million roster bonus — and that the Texans said thanks and no.  Johnson’s olive branch came after he took some time to get to know the knew coaching staff, and after he concluded that the franchise hasn’t plunged into a full-blown rebuilding process.  Johnson was ready to show up and get to work, with his only request being that the organization give him a way to earn the money that hinged on his full participation in the offseason program.

That was it.  That’s all he wanted.  And the Texans said no.

For now, the fracture has become a full-blown schism.  After the team refused to give him a way to earn back the money, Johnson became committed to the idea of playing elsewhere.

So why didn’t the Texans simply let Johnson save a little face and in turn a lot of money?  If there’s a rational explanation, the explanation has yet to make its way into the eyes and ears of the media.  While it shows the other players on the team that contracts will be honored as written, it undermines, and potentially poisons, the relationship with Johnson.

Sure sounds like things will probably be over between Houston and Johnson. It isn’t like he’s a high-maintenance prima donna. Johnson is a classy veteran and probably the best player in Texans history. Weird.

If the Texans put Johnson on the market, should the Eagles have interest?

No.

If the question was simply about Johnson, the answer would be yes. But he’s not a free agent. Compensation is a factor. Johnson is a band-aid. I would not give up a pick for him. He’s older and expensive. Is he a good player? Yes. But the Eagles don’t need a workhorse WR, which is what Johnson is best at.

Let’s talk about age for a minute. The Eagles gave up a 5th round pick for Darren Sproles. What about that? Sproles is 31. He also impacts STs as well as offense. Sproles cost a cheap pick and has a reasonable salary. Johnson is a starting player. He would cost a higher pick and bigger salary. Do you want to add a 33-year old WR when the current group is young and has potential?

If this were mid-August and someone had gotten hurt, then you make a deal. Right now the Eagles are healthy and WR isn’t a position of “need”. I’m sure several of you will point out that Jeremy Maclin is coming off an ACL tear and that the Eagles have a couple of rookies in key roles. That’s true. But Maclin has looked good so far and the goal is to build up a young corps of WRs. The Eagles need to get Matthews, Huff, Benn and the others on the field.

Johnson is a bit of an awkward fit for Chip Kelly’s offense. He certainly has the size and physicality that Kelly loves. But I’m not so sure that Johnson is what Kelly wants. Johnson is a guy you feed the ball to. In 5 of the last 8 years, Johnson has caught 100 or more passes. I think Kelly prefers to spread the ball and use multiple guys. I’m also curious whether Johnson is all that much of a threat after the catch anymore. He averaged just 3.8 RAC yards per reception. Johnson was 2nd in the NFL in RAC yards in 2012. Did age start to catch up or was he merely struggling due to an overall offensive letdown?

I see Johnson as the kind of player you add if you are desperate for WR help or a veteran team that is looking for that push to get them over the top. The Eagles don’t fit either category so I think they pass on him.

Then again, I didn’t expect them to go for Sproles so never say never. Just seems unlikely to me.

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