Find Me a WR!

Posted: September 11th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Eagles WRs did not exactly light it up in the opener, totaling 9 catches for just 43 yards. In a word…yikes.

Give the Falcons defense some credit. Blame Nick Foles for some of that. But we can’t just ignore the lack of production from the receivers. The Eagles are looking high and low to see what is available.

Wow.

Coleman is a major talent. The Browns drafted him 15th overall back in 2016. He played in 19 games for them over the course of two seasons, going 56-718-5. The Browns traded Coleman to the Bills this summer for a 7th round pick in 2020. Cleveland just wanted him gone and were happy to take anything for him. Buffalo, which has the worst receivers in the league, cut him. Ouch.

While talented, Coleman obviously has some issues. I don’t know if he’s selfish or lazy or parties too much. Something is going on there.

I think one of the reasons those teams moved on is that they didn’t have great infrastructure. The Eagles do.

  • great head coach
  • proven coaching staff
  • veteran leaders that run the locker room
  • successful offensive system
  • veteran QBs that are both good and respected
  • winning culture

Coleman would come into a great situation, but the coaches and players would let him know right away what was expected of him, on and off the field. That kind of structure can really help a player who has some issues. He feels pressured to do the right thing and to fit in

If Coleman puts out a vibe that he’s got a sense of entitlement due to being a high pick, the Eagles will say no thank you and tell him to hit the bricks. Talented or not, attitude matters to the Eagles.

Dude can play. He has to say the right things in his visit to convince the Eagles he’s worth bringing in.

As for Perriman…he has good size, speed and athleticism. What he doesn’t have are good hands.

Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl know him from their time with the Ravens. Baltimore drafted Perriman 26th overall in 2015. He was injured in his first season and then highly inconsistent in the next two years. The Ravens finally gave up this summer, cutting him.

Injuries were also a regular issue for Perriman in Baltimore. Could the Sports Science staff have any impact on that? I haven’t studied his injury history to know if that group would be of much help. As for the hands, you never know when a change of scenery and coaching can help something like that. Usually it doesn’t, but it can’t hurt to take a look and see what they think of Perriman.

The Eagles are checking these players out. That doesn’t mean they will definitely sign one. One benefit could be that the current receivers get the message loud and clear…play better or else. Guys like Mike Wallace, Markus Wheaton and Shelton Gibson have talent. They need to perform on the practice field, in the classroom and in games.

*****

As for the practice squad guys, Braxton Miller is the big name. He is a terrific athlete and the kind of guy you want in the slot. He just didn’t develop in Houston as expected. The Eagles can take a longer look at him now that he’s on the PS.

Reggie Davis is small at 6-0, 170, but he’s got 4.36 speed. That’s certainly something you want on your team. He was with the Falcons in 2017, but was cut this year.

Dorren Miller has solid size at 6-0, 196. He is a small-school receiver who spent some time with the Jags.

It will be interesting to see if any of these players pan out.

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Wentz Update

Posted: September 10th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Carson Wentz missed the opener so the next question is whether he’ll be ready for Week 2. Sounds like he might sit once more.

GPS data? That only comes from the coach or GM. I guess someone on the Sport Science staff could leak the info, but they would be risking their job. Most likely this is Doug or Howie leaking the info to control the narrative and also to punish Ian Rapoport, the insider for the NFL Network. Rapoport has broken a couple of stories about Wentz’s comeback and Pederson has not been happy about those. No better way to get at him than to leak a story to an insider from ESPN.

I am completely fine with sitting Wentz for another week. The goal is to have him on the field in December and January. If that means sitting another game, or even two, so be it.

The Eagles offense struggled mightily in the opener so it would be tempting to cut corners to get him back on the field, but that would be dumb. The Eagles are good enough to win without Wentz, even if some of the games are less than picturesque. A win is a win.

*****

One of the things that stood out in the win over Atlanta was the play of the D-line. Those guys were dominant, especially in the 2nd half.

I love the way Jim Schwartz rotates players in and out. A lot of coaches talk about that, but don’t do it nearly enough. Schwartz genuinely believes in a rotation and isn’t afraid to put anyone out there. Rookie Bruce Hector played in the game. It was only seven snaps, but that helped keep other players fresh.

Chris Long was outstanding in the game. It felt like he started slow last year, but Long looks ready to roll. He played 39 snaps, had 1.5 sacks, a FF and tied for the team lead with 4 QB hits. Long is perfect for the Schwartz defense and the Eagles are lucky to have him.

The DL did a great job of power rushing, especially late. They just collapsed the pocket around Matt Ryan. There is nothing more infuriating than watching a DE fly upfield and get behind the QB. That doesn’t do you any good. The Eagles did a great job of attacking blockers and driving them backward. That didn’t always lead to a sack, but it pressured Ryan and some of his throws were terrible.

*****

Some people thought Corey Clement might get a lot of touches this year. After the opener, sure doesn’t feel that way.

Pederson said that he has to watch how much he uses Clement on offense because he is so important on STs.

For whatever reason, things weren’t working for Clement in the opener. He finished 5-26, but 21 of those yards came on one run. I was surprised he wasn’t used more in the pass game. I’m sure that will change in the coming weeks.

*****

Wild day of football.

Dallas lost and didn’t look good in doing so.

The Giants played the Jags tough, but Pat Shurmur wasn’t nearly aggressive enough.

The Skins dominated Sam Bradford and the Cardinals.

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More Roster Moves

Posted: September 9th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

NFL teams tend to adjust their rosters after Week 1. Since the Eagles played on Thursday night, they have already made some moves.

That is a lot of action. Let’s take a look at the updated roster.

QB: Wentz, Foles, Sudfeld

RB: Ajayi, Clement, Sproles, Smallwood

WR: Jeffery, Agholor, Wallace, Gibson, Carter, Wheaton

TE: Ertz, Goedert, Perkins

OL: Peters, Wisniewski, Kelce, Brooks, Johnson, Vaitai, Warmack, Pryor, Mailata

DL: Graham, Cox, Vaeao, Barnett, Long, Bennett, Ngata, Hector, Sweat

LB: Bradham, Hicks, Gerry, Grugier-Hill, Reynolds, Alexander

S: Jenkins, McLeod, Graham, Hall

CB: Darby, Mills, Jones, Douglas, Maddox

ST: Elliott, Lovato, Johnston

And now for the practice squad.

RB Josh Adams
WR Braxton Miller (pending physical)
TE Billy Brown
OL Jon Toth
DE Joe Ostman
DT Treyvon Hester
LB Joe Walker
CB De’Vante Bausby
CB Chandon Sullivan

I would expect the Eagles to add S Tre Sullivan to the PS. He made a big mistake in the opener, but the Eagles still like his long term potential.

Let’s talk about the new guys.

Miller was a 3rd round pick of the Texans in 2016. He’s been disappointing so far in the NFL. He has 34 catches, but only 261 career yards. The former Ohio State QB has not developed into the athletic weapon that anyone expected. He still has potential and that’s why the Eagles must be taking a look at him.

Assuming he passes the physical, think of Miller as a long term prospect. He doesn’t know the Eagles offense. He’ll need time to learn the playbook and also to adjust to how the Eagles do things.

Hester is a talented 1-gap DT. The Eagles showed interest in him prior to the 2017 draft. He is 6-2, 304, the kind of build the Eagles like. Hester is good at shooting gaps, but also moves well laterally. That helps on stunts and loops. The Eagles are big believers in developing depth on the line of scrimmage. Hester is a good scheme fit and a nice addition.

As much as I loved Winston Craig, Hester is more talented. It is fun to keep effort guys, but you have to go for the more talented player when he’s available.

I’m glad the Eagles cut Davis and Ward. Nothing personal of course, but neither of those players showed much development.

*****

Totally right.

The Falcons should be a really good team this year. The Eagles beat them while missing a couple of key players and not having their A-game. That’s very impressive.

You get concerned if the Eagles are playing like this several weeks from now. At some point, you want them to get in a groove and play at a high level. Winning ugly in the season opener? It wasn’t fun to watch, but it was absolutely an impressive win.

This is a tough, resilient team. And pretty darned clutch as well.

*****

With the way Jim Schwartz has now shut down the Falcons three years in a row, you would have to think he’d be a serious candidate if the Bucs were to make a coaching change in the offseason. The Saints and Panthers won’t be making changes anytime soon. Tampa might, if they have the down season a lot of people are expecting.

Oh…the Eagles play at Tampa next Sunday.

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Looking Back at the Opener

Posted: September 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

The Eagles offense struggled mightily on Thursday night. There are a variety of reasons for that. I do think we have to give the Falcons credit for playing good defense. Their LBs were outstanding. Those guys flew around the field and made some key plays.

If you look back to last year, the Eagles starters only scored 18 points or less twice. Once was in Seattle (10 points) and the other time against Atlanta in the playoffs (15 points). Maybe something about the Cover 3 scheme that Dan Quinn and Seattle use gives the Eagles problems. Something to keep an eye on in the future.

A lot of mistakes were self-inflicted. I don’t know if that was rust from the weird preseason or playing on a Thursday night or what. I do expect the Eagles to get better. Any rust is gone. There are still timing and chemistry issues to work on and that will take some time.

The biggest thing is for Nick Foles to get into a groove. He played better as the game went along. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve.

Foles does need help from his skill guys. You remember the NFC title game and Super Bowl. Receivers made crazy catches. Runners made big plays. Last night you had Dallas Goedert failing to score a TD because he couldn’t get the second foot in. Later on, Goedert had a chance to haul in a 15-yard pass, but he got hit, the ball popped up and went right to a Falcon. Instead of kickstarting a promising drive, Atlanta had the ball in scoring position.

I need to study the tape to see what was going on with the WRs. I don’t know if they were open and Foles was missing them or the Falcons were just that good in coverage. There is no doubt that the team needs Alshon Jeffery in a big way.

*****

One thing that did impress me was the Eagles conditioning. All night long Falcons seemed to be cramping up or needing some kind of help. The Eagles didn’t have the same issues. Jason Peters did get winded at the end of the game, but that’s understandable with his age and the fact he hadn’t played in a game all summer.

We don’t know exactly what goes on with the Sports Science staff, but those folks seem to do a great job.

*****

Mychal who?

The Eagles now seem to have a deep, talented group of LBs. The team didn’t have Nigel Bradham last night, but still played pretty well.

Jordan Hicks was terrific. He led the team with 7 tackles. He also had 1.5 sacks, a TFL and deflected a pass. If he can play at that level all year, he and Bradham will give the Eagles an outstanding 1-2 punch at LB.

Bradham is the better overall player because of his consistency. He is a force in the run game and in coverage. Hicks is up and down against the run. There are times when he is really good, but there are other times when he guesses too much and gets in the wrong gaps. He also will get stuck on blocks more than you’d like. There is no question that Hicks is a force when it comes to being part of turnover plays (INTs, FFs, FRs). He’s got a nose for the ball.

Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry played plenty of snaps. Both guys had good moments. KGH made a sensational play near the goal line to prevent a TD. He fought through two blockers to get the RB for a TFL. Gerry knocked down a quick pass. Heck, he almost picked that off. That would have been off the charts, and a spectacular pick-six.

Without investing a ton of resources, the Eagles have built a good LB corps.

*****

What a debut by Cameron Johnston. He averaged 52.2 yards per punt. His long kick went 65 yards. Dude has a monster leg on him.

He had one punt inside the 20 and one touchback. As Pederson pointed out, the kicking game helped the Eagles defense.

*****

Dan Quinn is a good coach.

Doug Pederson is a great coach.

When you are a head coach who runs part of the team, you must hire someone who can run the other side of the ball and do a great job. Pederson is a brilliant offensive mind. He hired Jim Schwartz to run his defense. Schwartz can run the defense and get them to play at a high level. Beyond that, they can come up big in key situations. Just think about the Red Zone stop against Atlanta last night and last year. Think about the strip-sack of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Think about multiple 4th quarter stops of the Rams in that game. This is not a fluke.

Pederson got his offense to execute in the Red Zone and that proved to be the difference in the game. Beyond that, when his team was struggling, Pederson made the great call for Philly Philly and that brought some juice to the action. It got the team going and sent the stadium over the edge.

Pederson also has this ability to keep his team calm when things aren’t going their way.

Quinn made a bad hire when he chose Steve Sarkisian to replace Kyle Shanahan. Sarkisian has had some success, but the Falcons are a far cry from the 2016 offense which did some amazing things. I don’t think many people realize just how dynamic that group was.

Quinn has built a good defense. But they haven’t been able to come up with the key stops in key games. Think about the Super Bowl loss and the two losses to the Eagles. Just one key stop in those games and history would be very different.

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Defense Comes Up Huge

Posted: September 7th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 3 Comments »

This was a big win. I know some of you will question that since this is just the season opener, but this really was a big win.

The Eagles expect to be a title contender this year. So do the Falcons. Head-to-head matchups can be huge in deciding home field advantage come January. You never want to make too much of a September game, but the Eagles just put a big deposit in their 2018 savings account.

The result was great, but the performance certainly wasn’t. Mistake after mistake after mistake. Some by veterans, a lot by young players. The key is that the team never panicked. They just kept grinding away and pulled out the win. The Eagles have been that kind of team under Doug Pederson. His players never get too high or too low. They do a great job of living in the moment. That helps them to handle the ups and downs of a game, and a season as well.

Jim Schwartz’s defense was simply outstanding. They started off slow, but then got their feet under them and played at a high level. One of the signs of a really good defense is that even when they are giving up yards, as the Eagles did early, they bow up in the Red Zone and limit points. That’s just what the Eagles did. Atlanta finished the game 1 for 5 in the RZ. Heck, they were 1 for 4 in Goal to Go situations. That’s crazy.

The defensive line was great. Atlanta had a chance to win the game on their final drive. The Eagles mainly rushed four and got regular pressure. Sure, the Falcons were able to move the ball, but Matt Ryan took plenty of hits and Atlanta used a lot of time to move the ball. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham were getting a lot of inside pressure. Graham would just drive the RG back into Ryan. Chris Long was terrific all night. He had 1.5 sacks and a FF.

That’s why you spend a lot of resources to build a deep, talented D-line. Even with Tim Jernigan out, the Eagles got a ton of pressure in the second half. Give Ryan credit. He took a beating, but kept hanging in there and making throws.

Nick Foles and the Eagles offense were not impressive, especially in the opening half. Foles made poor decisions and some bad throws. He got better after halftime and the Eagles ground game really came alive. Jay Ajayi rushed for two TDs and a 2-point conversion. The O-line was outstanding in the second half. And it was fun to see Jason Peters just dominate.

The play of the game came in the third quarter when the Eagles ran Philly Philly. The play from the Super Bowl was Philly Special. This was a variation on that.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1037901922248744960

Where did the Eagles get that play? From the Patriots. In the Super Bowl. You know, where Tom dropped the pass. You have to love Pederson putting that into the playbook and then calling it tonight. Not only did the play work, it changed the game. It got the Eagles offense going and brought some real life to the game.

Insanely good play-call by Doug. And really well executed.

It is so fun to have that guy as the Eagles coach. Wow.

The coaches have a lot of things to clean up in the next 10 days, but it is much better to do that after an ugly win than an ugly loss. The passing game needs a ton of work. There were way too many mistakes on STs. Dave Fipp has his work cut out with the young guys. Still, this team found a way to win. As Schwartz always loves to point out, that’s all that matters in the end. Find a way to win.

The Eagles did that and gave us all an awkward, but very memorable night.

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