Health

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

You can say what you want about Chip Kelly’s tenure as Eagles coach, but he left one very positive legacy…the Sports Science program. Chip might have been a bit over the top with pushing players to live a certain lifestyle, but the overall ideas of the program have worked well for the Eagles.

Chris McPherson just wrote a good piece for PE.com on how healthy the Eagles have been since 2013.

Football Outsiders released its annual study on the amount of “Adjusted Games Lost” due to injury for 2016. The Eagles had the fourth-lowest total in the league at just 38.4 games, behind only Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Tennessee. Philadelphia ranked first in the NFL in 2013, and has not placed worse than sixth since then. Football Outsiders not only takes the amount of games that players were sidelined, but also factors in their level of involvement because the loss of a starter counts more than an inactive player on gameday.

Yes, the implementation of the Eagles’ sports science program coincides with the recent trend of good health, but director of high performance Shaun Huls says that it is only one part of the equation.

“The thing I think about is the team approach,” Huls said on Tuesday. “I think it shows that there is a good synergy throughout the entire team to support the guys and keep them healthy.”

And

“We’re in a people business. The strength of that information goes as far as what level of relationship you have with that person. It helps with establishing a relationship of trust back and forth, and communication and everyone going in the same direction,” Huls said. “As you monitor guys, train with guys, give them feedback on their progressions, it raises awareness of what they need to do to take care of themselves. I think that was the biggest part, the continuity of training amongst the staff, the consistency of language with the players, and then just being transparent with that information.

“Transparency helps with the guys understanding what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. That changes the conversation in the locker room in terms of how they’re going to recover and what type of training they need from an individual standpoint.”

Whatever they are doing and however they are doing it…sure seems to be working. Let’s hope this trend continues into the future. The frustrating part about this is that the Eagles haven’t been able to take advantage of being healthy. Consecutive 7-9 seasons aren’t anyone’s idea of success (okay, maybe Browns fans).

One interesting nugget in relation to the draft:

The process begins before most players ever set foot inside the NovaCare Complex. The scouting department looks for players with a favorable injury history, as that is a good predictor of their future.

Does John Ross have any chance of being drafted?

Ouch.

I’m no doctor or injury expert. The Eagles obviously have guys that know what to look for with prospects. They aren’t simply looking for players who didn’t miss many games. They want to see if nagging injuries affected performance. They want to know how a player is going to handle the grind of the NFL. College kids play 12 to 14 games. NFL players have a tough Training Camp, 4 preseason games, 16 regular season games and hopefully some playoff games. You could have a rookie go from 12 college games to 24 NFL games. Not every body is ready for that.

There also is the question of value. Jordan Hicks had his share of injuries at Texas, but the Eagles felt he was too good to pass up at pick 84 in 2015. They rolled the dice on him and it paid off. Hicks did miss half his rookie season, but was healthy last year. And there is no question that he is a terrific talent.

When you evaluate someone like Ross, you have to worry about that history. How will he handle the NFL? Ross is a Top 15 talent, but his health is a legit concern and will likely drop him more toward the bottom of the 1st round. One of Chip’s dorky sayings that was actually dead on the money…the key ability is availability. The best player in the world does you know good if he can’t play.

The Eagles have tough decisions to make on several prospects.

  • CB Sidney Jones – Achilles tear at Pro Day
  • TE Jake Butt – tore ACL in bowl game
  • LB Alex Anzalone – only played in 18 games in 4 years
  • DT Jonathan Allen – arthritic condition in shoulders
  • RB Dalvin Cook – shoulder issues
  • WR Mike Williams – serious neck injury in 2015
  • LB Reuben Foster – serious stinger issues

That’s only scratching the surface there are plenty of prospects who have questions. The Eagles will give positive reviews to some of the players, but will take others off the draft board. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks.

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Name Chasing

Posted: April 12th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 173 Comments »

The Eagles should trade for Richard Sherman!!!

No wait, what about Joe Haden?

Feel free to insert the name of another star player. Any way you slice it, these don’t sound like good ideas. The Eagles are in the process of trying to build a championship team. Draft picks are crucial to that process. You don’t want to trade picks for veterans unless the price is right.

Richard Sherman is still a darn good CB. But he’s also 29 years old. And the fact Seattle is either shopping him or actively listening to offers tells you they are open to dealing him. Why would they do that? He’s a declining player (from great to very good at this point) and this draft class is loaded with CBs. Seattle can draft a couple and hope to find a younger, cheaper CB who can take his place.

I think the Haden thing is pure speculation, but that’s another bogus idea. He will turn 28 this spring, but has only played in 18 games over the past 2 years and his play is declining.

If either of the players was available for the right price, I’d be fine with taking a chance on them. Trades can be beneficial when trying to build a team. Where would Seattle be if they hadn’t dealt for Marshawn Lynch? You have to remember that Seattle gave up a 4th round pick and a 5th round pick to get him. That is worlds different than pick 14 overall.

If the Eagles were coming off a couple of outstanding seasons and it felt like the team was just one player away from getting to the Super Bowl, that would change the equation. That’s not the case right now. The Eagles situation in 2017 is going to heavily depend on how Carson Wentz plays. If he takes a big step forward, this team can be a contender. If he is inconsistent, the team will likely be the same.

I know some people will make the argument that the Eagles would be better off with Sherman or Haden than Danny Watkins, Marcus Smith or whatever bust you choose to insert in that scenario. The draft is risky. No question about that.

Those people fail to mention the Eagles could land the next Fletcher Cox or whichever star player you want to insert in that scenario. If you hit on a 1st round pick, it can be huge for your team for a while because you add young, cheap talent.

I miss the days when Jerry Jones would trade for Roy Williams, sign Terrell Owens and covet every star player on other teams. He’s backed off that now and lets his football people focus on the draft. Dallas has hit on some key picks and built up a strong OL and very talented offense, all home grown. You have to trust your football people to draft and then develop players.

I’m all for using trades and free agency to help your team, but you want to build the bulk of the roster using the draft. That means keeping your picks and taking chances. There will be some busts. But if you hit on enough of them, you can build a really good team. The Eagles have a good core in place. They need another draft or two to help push this group over the top.

Unless someone has a fire sale, this just isn’t the time to be dealing for veterans.

*****

When I mention the Eagles are building, some people take that to mean that winning is somehow not to be expected. That’s not the case at all. The Eagles were building in 2000 when they won 11 games and even a playoff game. They were building in 2001 when they won 11 games, the division title and reached the NFC Championship Game. You can build and win at the same time.

I expect the Eagles to be a playoff contender this season. I don’t expect them to win 13 games and be the #1 seed in the NFC. It would be great if the team is ahead of schedule and that happens, but a lot of things would need to go right.

You don’t want to count on all those things happening.

The organization has preached patience this offseason because they are taking a long term approach. If the Eagles did want the best possible team for just one season, then trading for Sherman would be the smart move. When you are trying to build a team that can sustain winning for several years, you have to balance being patient and aggressive.

The Eagles aggressively went out and got Carson Wentz.

This year they are trying to be patient as they try to build around him.

But the goal is still to win games. This isn’t about stockpiling talent for some magical year in the future. The Eagles want to win. They want to be a playoff team this season. They are keeping one eye on that and one eye on the future. With young stars like Carson Wentz and Fletcher Cox, that is absolutely the right thing to do.

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More Insurance

Posted: April 11th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 138 Comments »

The Eagles made an interesting move on Monday.

I like this move. McGloin is a good #3 QB. I would love for the Eagles to have targeted someone in the draft to add and develop as a backup, but this is not a good QB class. There just aren’t any guys I really want. Apparently the team feels the same way.

Nick Foles is here on a 2-year deal. McGloin is just here for one year. I’m sure the Eagles would love Foles to stay for a while, but he would certainly like a chance to compete for a starting job at some point in the future. He can spend the next couple of years trying to repair his reputation.

The question with McGloin is whether he is good enough to be your primary backup. McGloin has gone 1-6 in his career as a starter. His career QB rating is 75.3. He doesn’t complete 60 percent of his passes. Those aren’t compelling numbers. The backup QB has to be good enough to be an effective starter if called upon. I like to think of A.J. Feeley as the kind of guy you want. Someone who is competent and confident, but also comfortable with the role. He wasn’t meant to be a starter, but gave you a chance to win when he was on the field.

McGloin reminds me a bit of Koy Detmer. Lots of attitude and emotion, but limited skills. Fun to watch in meaningless games, but not someone you want out there when things really matter.

It is possible that McGloin could develop over time. He spent 2 years in Oakland playing for John DeFilippo so that should help McGloin to fit in with the Eagles. This also gives him a chance to play for an offensive-minded head coach. Derek Carr has developed nicely for the Raiders, but players with marginal talent sometimes need the right circumstances to bring out the best in them.

The Eagles now have a good starting QB in Carson Wentz, a good backup in Nick Foles and an experienced #3 in McGloin. That’s a pretty good situation.

*****

I do have to give McGloin a lot of credit. I saw him early on at Penn State and he was erratic. I thought he could have been a good starter at a lower level of football, but it seemed like the Big Ten was above his head.

McGloin kept working and grinding and then got the break of a lifetime when Bill O’Brien took over the program. O’Brien brought out the best in McGloin and helped develop him into a player that could find a spot in the NFL.

The kid I saw early on at Penn State seemed more likely to play in the NHL than the NFL. He’s earned everything in his career and that’s something he can be proud of, no matter how things turn out in the future.

*****

I loved this.

The Bill O’Brien Bowl.

Could make the preseason finale a lot more fun for PSU fans.

*****

I went back and watched more tape of him. Didn’t realize how creatively they used him. LSU ran 3 and 4-man DLs. Godchaux played DE in both fronts and DT as well. Better athlete than I initially gave him credit for. Good closing speed. Godchaux had 6.5 sacks last year, a good total for a guy who is 310 pounds.

Also of interest…played for the same defensive coordinator who coached Beau Allen in his Senior season.

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Updated – Visits, Workouts and Meetings

Posted: April 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 262 Comments »

Here is the roundup of what we know in terms of visits, workouts and interest.

VISITS TO PHILLY

WR John Ross
WR Corey Davis
WR Mike Williams
WR Shelton Gibson
WR Chris Godwin
RB Leonard Fournette
RB Dalvin Cook
OL Ethan Cooper

DE Ryan Anderson
LB Reuben Foster
S Malik Golden
S Jamal Adams
S/CB Obi Melifonwu
CB Marlon Humphrey
CB Kevin King

CB Gareon Conley … not definite, but some great detective work by BGN reader

WORKOUTS / MEETINGS

WR Chris Godwin – Penn State
WR Fabian Guerra – Fairmont State
WR/RB Curtis Samuel – Ohio State … private workout
RB Aaron Jones – UTEP … private workout
RB Jahad Thomas – Temple
RB Elijah Hood – UNC … Duce Staley ran his Pro Day
RB T.J. Logan – UNC … Duce Staley ran his Pro Day
RB Matt Dayes – NC State … Duce Staley at his Pro day
RB Dalvin Cook – Florida State … private workout
TE Blake Jarwin  – Oklahoma State
TE Michael Roberts – Toledo
TE Adam Shaheen – Ashland
TE Evan Engram – Ole Miss … TE coach at his Pro Day
OT Olakunle Salako – Oklahoma State
OT Antonio Garcia – Troy … Jeff Stoutland at his Pro Day
OL Ethan Cooper – IUP
OL Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky … Jeff Stoutland ran his Pro Day workout
OL Dan Feeney – Indiana … OL coach at his Pro Day
QB Nathan Peterman – Pitt

DT Elijah Qualls – Washington
DT Ryan Glasgow – Michigan … visit/workout
DT A.J. Wolf – Duke … Eagles scout ran his Pro Day workout
DL Chris Wormley – Michigan … private workout
DE Jordan Willis – Kansas State … DL coach at his Pro Day
DE T.J. Watt – Wisconsin … DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Derek Rivers – Youngstown State …assistant DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Avery Moss – Youngstown State … assistant DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Tarell Basham – Ohio … DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Keionta Davis – Tenn-Chattanooga … DL coach at his Pro Day
DE DeMarcus Walker – Florida State … DL coach helped run his Pro Day workout
LB Brandon Bell – Penn State … has visit, but local kid so not as meaningful
LB Jalen Reeves-Mabin – Tennessee … LB coach at his Pro Day
CB Chidobe Awuzie – Colorado
CB Corn Elder – Miami … DB coach worked him out
CB Damontae Kazee – SDSU … private workout
CB Cam Sutton – Tennessee … DB coach ran his workout

MISC

QB Garrett Fugate – Central Missouri … Showing interest
LB/DE Harvey Langi – BYU … Showing interest per this article
DE Bryan Cox – Florida … Showing interest
RB Christian McCaffrey – Stanford … Showing interest
PK Simon Mathiesen – NW Missouri … Showing interest

Multiple people at Oklahoma State Pro Day

Multiple people at Wisconsin Pro Day

Multiple people at UCLA Pro Day

Multiple people at Florida State Pro Day

Multiple people at Miami Pro Day

Multiple people at Tennessee Pro Day

Multiple people at Penn State Pro Day, but that’s somewhat local

Small School Pro Days (more noteworthy than a scout at Stanford or Florida)

Scout at UNC-Charlotte
Scout at Richmond
Scout at JMU
Scout at Harvard
Scout at Missouri State

*****

I wrote a piece for PE.com on some players who are good draft targets for the Eagles. I focused on guys outside the 1st round.

OFFENSE

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Renting vs Buying

Posted: April 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 7 Comments »

The Eagles have a lot of short term contract situations going on. Alshon Jeffery is here on a 1-year deal. The team traded for DT Tim Jernigan, who is in the final year of his deal. Chris Long essentially signed a 1-year contract. Patrick Robinson and Chance Warmack both came to Philly on 1-year deals. That’s a lot of rentals. Is that a bad thing?

Ideally you want to have a team stay together for several years so the players can develop chemistry. Stability is a good thing. Unfortunately roster changes are a fact of life in the NFL. There is a lot of turnover when there is a coaching change. The new staff has to find players that fit their schemes. There are also some situations where personalities don’t mesh well and that leads to changes.

Doug Pederson didn’t come in with the idea of completely rebuilding the team. He made changes where he felt they were needed. Some coaches go overboard with wanting to turn over the roster and fill it with their guys. Pederson wanted to win more than go on an ego trip so he kept a good number of coaches and plenty of players. He wanted stability.

Still, different schemes require different players. The Eagles made some changes last year and are continuing that process this offseason. They would love to only be adding young players and for those guys to be signing long deals, but that’s just not reality. First, there isn’t enough cap space to sign everyone to a big deal. Also, there aren’t always the right players available to make commitments to. Sometimes you have to rent.

Understand that these situations all are a bit different.

The Eagles wanted Jeffery long term. He and his agent wanted a short deal. Jeffery would love to have a big year and hit the market again next year. The Eagles will talk to him about an extension over and over. They want him to love Philly and realize this is a place to stay.

The Eagles like Chris Long. But reality says he’s 32 and nearing the end of his career. Players take great care of themselves these days so the old timetables are no longer set in stone. If Long plays well, he’ll stay for more than a year. The Eagles would love that to happen, but structured his deal so there is flexibility.

Robinson is here as a band-aid. He has experience and was cheap. Warmack is here for redemption. He’s hoping Jeff Stoutland can save his career.

Jernigan looks like a rental because he is in the final year of his deal. The Eagles were very happy to land him, because he’s young and they think he’s very talented and a great fit for Jim Schwartz’s defense. The Eagles will talk to him about an extension. They haven’t seen him on the field yet, but I think they are willing to roll the dice and sign him to a deal. They would love to have a talented DT to pair with Fletcher Cox. They hoped that would be Bennie Logan, but his price tag and their’s were very different.

Jernigan is younger than Logan and a better scheme fit. He is a good pass rusher and Schwartz places a priority on getting to the QB. I think the Eagles will be aggressive in trying to work on a deal with him. There is risk because he’s an outsider, but Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl were in Baltimore when they drafted Jernigan so it isn’t like the Eagles are flying completely blind.

If the Eagles can find a way to keep Jeffery and Jernigan around, these moves will look even better than they do now. The Eagles are renting them, but they definitely want to buy. All about finding the right price. The deal has to make sense to the Eagles and to the player.

*****

Let’s hope this timetable is accurate.

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