In and Out

Posted: May 10th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 198 Comments »

Sometimes analyzing the offseason is easier than we make it.

IN

WR Alshon Jeffery
WR Torrey Smith
WR Mack Hollins
WR Shelton Gibson
RB Donnel Pumphrey
QB Nick Foles
QB Matt McGloin
OL Chance Warmack
DE Derek Barnett
DE Chris Long
DT Tim Jernigan
LB Steven Daniels
CB Patrick Robinson
CB Sidney Jones
CB Rasul Douglas

OUT

QB Chase Daniel
RB Kenjon Barner
DE Connor Barwin
DT Bennie Logan
ST Bryan Braman
LB Stephen Tulloch
CB Leodis McKelvin
CB Nolan Carroll

RB Ryan Mathews is going to be cut when he’s healthy enough to pass a physical.

ANALYSIS

The top group is better than the bottom group.

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Moves and Maybe Moves

Posted: May 8th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 162 Comments »

Some interesting nuggets out there today.

Very interesting. I wasn’t sure what to make of this kid before the draft. He has serious talent. His highlight moments are good. But he’s been inconsistent and had a slew of injuries, including 3 concussions. He only played 4 games this year. After a concussion vs TCU, he decided to sit out the rest of the season. Concussions aren’t anything to be taken lightly so you can understand his thinking.

Walker has solid size at 6-2, 310. He had some good numbers at the Combine (4.96 in the 40 and 25 reps), but didn’t do as well in the agility tests as I would have anticipated. He certainly looks like an agile big man when you watch the tape.

Walker is a natural fit in the Eagles scheme. Looks like OU had him playing DE and DT and doing a variety of things (attacking and reading plays). Jim Schwartz will turn him loose and let him attack up the field. Walker had 6 sacks as a Soph. and you know Schwartz loves DL who can get to the QB. From a fit perspective, this can work.

The coaches have to get Walker to play all out, all the time. They also have to hope he stays healthy. The talent is there, but DL with his ability don’t go undrafted unless there are serious questions.

*****

Did you hear this?

So the Saints might need help at C? Hmmmm…

Their backup C is Jack Allen, a UDFA from last year. I have no idea how he played last summer or what the Saints think of him. For a team that is desperate to get back to winning (3 straight 7-9 seasons), the Saints might feel like they have to make a move.

https://twitter.com/PatrickMCausey/status/861650416630738945

The Eagles could use a RB. The Saints could use OL help. Wonder if they might work something out.

The Saints signed Adrian Peterson in free agency and drafted Alvin Kamara so they have flexibility with their backfield. Ingram has some size and is coming off his best NFL season so you could easily see where the Eagles would be interested.

I would love an Eagles RB group of Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey. Ingram and Sproles would be a heck of a 1-2 punch. Smallwood showed good potential last year, but we don’t know just how good he can be. Pumphrey would have his rookie season to adjust to the league and the coaches could mix him in slowly. The coaches could be very situational with a solid group of runners.

This move would seem to make sense for both sides.

We’ll see what happens.

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Other Pieces

Posted: May 8th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 133 Comments »

We’re all excited by what the Eagles did in the draft and free agency, but what about the development of players already on the roster? That can be a big X-factor for a team trying to get over the hump.

Howie Roseman recently noted that DE Alex McCalister looked great. That meant he looked bigger and stronger. We’ll have to see how that translates to the playing field. McCalister was a talented pass rusher from Florida. He has NFL ability. He just needs to be able to handle the physicality of the NFL. Imagine if this guy has things start to come together for him.

***

We’re mostly down on Dorial Green-Beckham right now. There was a time when we saw this and really got our hopes up.

The Eagles dramatically changed the WR position in the offseason. There will be serious competition for roster spots, let alone playing time. This will either bring out the best in DGB or he will be looking for a job.

The talent is there. We’ll find out just how competitive he is this spring and summer.

***

I’m curious to see if any of the holdover CBs can challenge for playing time. C.J. Smith was impressive last summer. He was never good enough to get on the field during the season, but that’s not shocking for a UDFA rookie at corner. He has to take another step forward this year if he wants to keep a job. He has to show that he can contribute.

Aaron Grymes looked great at times last summer. I would love to see him challenge for the slot corner spot in this defense. Grymes has some experience from his days in the CFL. He showed ability last summer and seemed to be a guy with a chance at getting playing time before he got hurt.

***

OL Dillon Gordon is one of the players I’m most curious about. When I watched him as a TE at LSU, I wasn’t impressed with his blocking. The Eagles signed him and bulked him up to OL size. I was blown away at how good he looked in the preseason. He showed LT potential. He was a natural pass protector with good feet and agility. He was raw, but talented.

The Eagles liked what they saw enough to keep him on the roster. This was a player they didn’t want to risk losing.

I’ve been around long enough to know that players can flash in one summer and then disappear. Gordon has to build on what he did last year. He can’t looked talented, but raw anymore. He’s not a rookie this time out. He’s been part of an NFL team for a year now and knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t have experience, but he’s been at practice and been getting coached enough that we should see real growth from him.

I’m excited to see what this young man can do.

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Built to Win

Posted: May 6th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 128 Comments »

Free agency is over. The draft is over. We can now look at the roster and the personnel decisions that were made and give them some thought. What was the plan for the offseason?

I covered that topic in my PE.com column.

The NFL is a passing league and the Eagles didn’t do a good job in 2016 with the passing game on offense or stopping the passing game on defense.

PHI QB rating – 79.2
OPP QB rating – 85.7

PHI TD passes – 16
OPP TD passes – 25

Those are simple stats and lack context, but do show the problems.

The front office decided to get Carson Wentz help. They kept the OL intact and added depth. They signed free agent receivers and drafted a pair of home run threats. They added good backup QBs. The coaching staff returns, with the exception of Greg Lewis, who the Eagles wanted to upgrade.

The defense got a couple of pass rushers, a couple of talented rookie CBs and some interesting LB depth.

The Eagles should be able to throw the ball better and defend the pass better. That’s what it takes to win in the NFL today.

*****

It does help that the Eagles played a couple of crappy teams in that span, but Domo’s point is accurate. The Eagles were playing effective pass defense at the time. Brooks wasn’t anything special, but was a veteran who provided stability and allowed the other DBs to stay in their spots as he manned the slot. His absence created a domino effect.

Losing a player can hurt the best secondary. Think how much Seattle struggled when Kam Chancellor held out a couple of years ago. Think about how they struggled without Earl Thomas last year.

i love the fact the Eagles added a pair of CBs in the draft. I do with they had added a Safety with good cover skills as well, but I do think Randall Goforth and Tre Sullivan have some potential. I also hope Terrence Brooks can be more of a factor this year. He was a late addition last summer and was behind everyone else when it came to learning the scheme and carving out a role.

*****

This guy can be a big help to the secondary, no matter who is out there.

https://twitter.com/Eagles/status/860162928846262273

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Answering Your Questions

Posted: May 5th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 99 Comments »

I’ve gotten quite a few questions recently so let me share some answers.

Douglas played in a system at West Virginia that had him playing off and then reacting to the ball most of the time. They did mix in some press, but it wasn’t a huge part of their scheme. At the Senior Bowl, Douglas showed the ability to play up on receivers and be very physical with them. He was then able to turn and run as they released down the field.

I think he can play in any scheme. He’s most dangerous when he can face the ball and go attack it. That’s zone. And the Eagles do play a mixture of man and zone. The Eagles will ask Douglas to use his size/length to be disruptive with receivers and keep them from getting a clean release. They will also have him play off at times because they want INTs and Douglas has great instincts and ball skills. You need to give him chances to go get the ball.

5-11, 201
40 – 4.47
VJ – 38 inches
3-cone – 6.70
BP – 22 reps

That really is a great Combine showing. Gratz started 25 games for the Jaguars before they let him go. He didn’t play much last year for the Rams. I have yet to go back and study his tape. I don’t know what has worked and what hasn’t. Now that the draft is over I do have the time to check him out.

The fact he is so athletic and has some experience means he has a chance to compete for a job and win it. The Eagles will give him a clean slate and clearly CB is wide open right now. Whoever wants a job just has to go win it. All that said, I wouldn’t count on Gratz doing much. He doesn’t have a great track record and seems to be declining. He is getting a fresh start in Philly and maybe that will bring out the best in him.

I think the Eagles have done a good job of creating competition. The roster isn’t filled with household names, but that’s doesn’t mean a thing. Last year the Eagles brought in a trio of veteran receivers to compete for a job. All 3 struggled (makes you wonder if Greg Lewis had some blame in that). None of them emerged. UDFA Paul Turner played his ass off and won a spot. The big names and former high draft picks were useless.

Reputations don’t mean much, if anything, in a roster battle. You want guys that have some talent and who will really compete. The Eagles are stocking the roster this year with players who will battle. You think Steven Means is just going to let the Eagles cut him without a fight? I think CB Aaron Grymes will do everything he can to earn a roster spot. There is a ton of competition on the OL. There will be some good roster battles.

This really is a good question. Gibson didn’t run as fast in Indy as expected. He was a 4.50 guy. He ran 4.42 at his Pro Day. Put on the game tape and he looks like a 4.38 type guy. He runs by CBs who do play off. Just flies by them.

I think the fact he caught so few passes hurt him. Gibson played a full season and caught 43 passes. He was the #1 offensive player for WV. They didn’t have good QB play and that hurt his numbers. He’s not a very polished receiver. He can do more than just go deep, but that’s his specialty right now and he’s got a lot of learning to do.

I think the Eagles got a major steal. I’ll be writing a full post on him.

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