Posted: August 20th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 28 Comments »

For the most part, things look good for the Eagles right now. The team is fairly healthy. The defense is playing lights out. The offense has some really good pieces, even if the group hasn’t been great in the preseason games.

There are some potential concerns. Let’s talk about areas where things aren’t going smoothly.


The starting offensive line hasn’t been on the field yet. The backup line has had some moving pieces. Still, the line play has not been good. Some of this will go away in the regular season. Jason Peters and Lane Johnson being sloppy in the opener was an anomaly. Those guys each have a strong track record. Some August sloppiness doesn’t erase what they’ve done n the past.

I was hoping Isaac Seumalo would take a big step forward this year. He didn’t play well in the opener, but was better on Thursday. Jeff Stoutland admitted Seumalo started slow in Training Camp before getting better the last week or so. Seumalo is a player the Eagles are high on so they’ll be patient with him.

Other players fighting for roster spots and/or trying to earn key backup roles don’t have that kind of wiggle room. Matt Tobin has been up and down. He’s not guaranteed a job. Chance Warmack is fighting for a spot and he’s been up and down. Dillon Gordon got better from Week 1 to Week 2. Darrell Greene looks like a rookie, but he was here last year.

The starting OL should be on the field Thursday night. And Big V should be on the field with the #2 unit so this will be a chance for both groups to play well and set a good tone for the upcoming season.

TE blocking

Brent Celek is the Eagles best blocking TE. He’s been okay this summer, but hasn’t stood out. Zach Ertz has been awful.

Ertz doesn’t have to move the guy 5 yards downfield, but at least hold your ground and keep him occupied. Ugh.

We have to hope the regular season will bring out better blocking from Ertz. He has shown improvement in the last couple of years, but only marginal improvement. He must get better in this area.


I’m not sure what to make of Caleb Sturgis. He was 8 of 8 at Sunday’s practice, but he’s missed more kicks this summer than last year. He missed one on Thursday in the Bills game.  The backup holder was in for that attempt and details like that can affect kickers.

The returners have not had any room to work with. The cover units have given up too many big returns. I tend to think a lot of this is due to Dave Fipp using a lot of young guys in the games to find out who can play and who can’t. Still, you expect more from the Eagles STs units.


Darren Sproles hasn’t played. Wendell Smallwood can’t stay healthy. Donnel Pumphrey hasn’t shown the athleticism everyone expected. LeGarrette Blount hasn’t had running room and then fumbled vs Buffalo.

Should we worry?

I don’t think so. Sproles will play in the regular season. Smallwood practiced today and has looked good when he’s played. Blount will look better when the starting OL is together and blocking for him. Pumphrey hasn’t had much of a chance to make things happen in space, but part of that is on him. He has to make the first guy miss and create his own room some of the time.

Depth at QB

Matt McGloin has been awful. I know he’s got physical limitations, but his decision-making is terrible. How is he a veteran QB? Dane Evans shows promise, but is still a major project.

I think Nick Foles can be a terrific backup QB, but he’s got to get healthy. You can’t count on Carson Wentz starting all 16 games. You have to be prepared to play someone other than him.


I don’t think this is a subject for concern, but we need to talk about Alshon Jeffery.

Jimmy Bama has the story up about WRs coach Mike Groh talking about Jeffery.

“Alshon ran the wrong route,” wide receiver coach Mike Groh acknowledged. “It’s probably a route he hadn’t practiced yet. It’s certainly his responsibility to know it, but in a short week and a non-game plan week, ordinarily if you’re spending four days of practicing the game plan as a team you’ll run every play. That’s one (play) that’s been (practiced in camp), but because of the time he missed, we run it two different ways and he got confused.”

It was a moment in the game that wasn’t noticed by a soul, other than the Eagles’ coaching staff of course, who knew the play call. Luckily for the Eagles, Wentz didn’t throw an interception because he was anticipating his receiver to be in one spot, while the receiver was in another. Also luckily for the Eagles, it’s still only the preseason.

“I think he’s behind,” Groh said. “Anytime you miss the amount of time that he did, he’s a little bit behind. Fortunately, we have time for him to catch up.”

This became a hot topic. Doug Pederson was asked about it at his press conference and said Jeffery is fine and that everyone makes a mistake.

I’m glad Groh is being hard on his receiver. You have to push those guys to get the best out of them. At the same time you have to be careful what you say to the media. There is a reason Andy Reid so rarely criticized players publicly. Critical comments rarely stay in the right context and often take on a life of their own.

Jeffery running the wrong route is not a big deal. It was on his first drive as an Eagle. Preseason is when you work through things like this.

At the same time, Jeffery is a highly paid veteran player. He needs to know the playbook and shouldn’t be making a mistake like this. He still has one preseason game and three weeks of practice before the season opener. Jeffery needs make sure this mistake is an anomaly and a good lesson for him.

Based on all the reports, Jeffery had a strong day of practice on Sunday so it sounds like all is good with him.

Go make plays and all will be forgiven.


28 Comments on “Concerns”

  1. 1 ColorSgt said at 7:54 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Jimmy Kempski – “After the preseason game Thursday against Buffalo, a number of fans were calling for undrafted rookie free agent Corey Clement to make the team over Smallwood because of Clement’s decent preseason game performance. No way. Before he got dinged up, Smallwood was having an outstanding camp, and is clearly a better player than Clement at this stage in their careers.”

    Tommy’s also saying don’t worry about RB yet.

  2. 2 Insomniac said at 8:32 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Blount is a bruiser. He’s not going to wear guys down that fast with just 3-5 runs. Apparently he’s not even a lock to make the roster now because he hasn’t shown anything in preseason.

    Pumphrey is a concern. You’re going up against backups and you look like a backup to the backups so far.

    I doubt Smallwood is the savior we need but boy if he is then we have one less hole on the team.

    As for Sturgis, apparently kickers are in a rut right now.

  3. 3 ColorSgt said at 8:51 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    I see this season as a transitional year at RB. Blount’s on a one year deal. It’s most likely Sproles’ last season. Pump is the new guy, that could take over for Sproles next year. We are all hoping Smallwood takes a step forward and can be a good RB2. But i think RB will be a major position Howie and Joe will look to fill next year. The long term answer is not on the team yet. I think you might have the backups in place with Smallwood and Pumphrey, but that’s TBD this year.

  4. 4 Tumtum said at 10:16 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Yep. Think that has always been the plan.

  5. 5 Tumtum said at 9:56 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Don’t worry about Blount. Like you said he is a Bruiser. He isn’t a top notch player. He is the old school, wear you down guy.

  6. 6 Insomniac said at 10:04 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    I’m not worried about Blount until he gets stuffed at the goal line 3 times in a row every game.

  7. 7 Buge Halls said at 7:44 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    “Apparently he’s not even a lock to make the roster now because he hasn’t shown anything in preseason.” One guy said that and it became a thing. Blount will be on the team, no doubt!

  8. 8 DJH said at 9:18 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Apparently the Bills are shopping Shady…

  9. 9 Dave said at 9:46 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    I assume this is your source. If so, you need a better source.

  10. 10 D3FB said at 11:58 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    It’s not inconceivable.

    Boldin just quit. Their WR corps may be worse than our last year. Tyrod is a lame duck QB. And the team is clearly building for the future.

    Shady can’t be happy.

    They’ll definitely listen

  11. 11 Someguy77 said at 12:05 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    McCoy wants to play for another 3-4 years, had a historically great year for a RB his age, and has talked this training camp about how he has changed his focus & training regime including cutting way back on his partying.

    I supported the McCoy trade because of his age & salary but the Eagles made a huge mistake in trading him.

  12. 12 D3FB said at 12:24 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    I agree with that.

    I’d say I’m generally conflicted.

    I think he’d gladly come back. I think Lurie would like him back. He’d be able to help this team.

    On the other hand he’s on the wrong side of the aging curve. You’re going to have to give him new guaranteed money and his AAV is kinda highish. And there would be a bit of the “are lurie and howie going overboard on the family thing”.

    For me if Buffalo would take something like a 5th/6th (or a conditional 2019 4th) plus one or two interesting young guys (Destiny/Gibson/Greene) plus Shady agrees to play for his current AAV plus just some new guarantees, I’d be in.

    Otherwise it probably doesn’t make a ton of sense.

  13. 13 Buge Halls said at 7:47 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    Too many “pluses”!

  14. 14 ChoTime said at 2:02 PM on August 21st, 2017:

    If the Eagles are a family, Shady’s the embarrassing uncle you only see at holidays and you can’t wait to say goodbye to. You know, the one who brings strippers to Thanksgiving, busts out champagne, and the whole family gets to hear them arguing outside.

    The analogy falls apart because it doesn’t really matter if the crazy uncle is way better at running back than the others…

  15. 15 Dave said at 7:19 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    I don’t doubt they could be traded, just that there has yet to be any actual report of them being on the trade block.

  16. 16 Sean Stott said at 9:48 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Can they justify Smallwood and Pumphrey both active on gamedays?

  17. 17 Tumtum said at 10:15 PM on August 20th, 2017:


  18. 18 Someguy77 said at 11:59 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Absolutely not. Active 3 RBs are Blount, Smallwood, and Sproles.

  19. 19 Tumtum said at 9:54 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    I like the accountability with Groh, but I hate the fact that he called his guy out. The picture of Jeffery painted for me by a guy who was at S.C the same time as Jeffery makes him seem like a guy who might not much give a damn about being called out in front of team mates. Maybe this was a good thing.

    I can’t help but not like it. Everyone in the media hated Reid for his loyalty. I loved it. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen much.

  20. 20 Ark87 said at 1:03 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    Yeah, that kind of talk needs to stay in the film room. If you want to humble a guy, call him out in front of his teammates, the rookies. As Tommy said, letting the media in can give it a life of its own.

  21. 21 Someguy77 said at 11:28 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Getting out of the preseason healthy is the first and foremost concern with everything else a distant second.

    I’m actually most concerned about Sturgis. Not many reports on him in camp but he has missed 2 FGs already & not looked that good on his kicks.

    He had a very solid last year but was disappointing in Miami given his draft selection in 5th round (1st placekicker taken). Easy see him reverting to more of what he was in Miami which was a below-average kicker.

  22. 22 or____ said at 11:35 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Follow Kempski

  23. 23 Someguy77 said at 12:01 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    What’s more likely – Sturgis reverts to the guy he was the first 3 years in the league including his first year with the Eagles or last year?

  24. 24 or____ said at 6:39 AM on August 21st, 2017:

    I’m no psychic. Probably 50/50

  25. 25 ColorSgt said at 11:53 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    He’ll be fine. I read something about how they used a different holder too. I can’t confirm it, but could have been a cause of one of the misses. He was something like 87% in camp. He was 85% last year.

  26. 26 ChoTime said at 2:16 PM on August 21st, 2017:

    His performance has not really varied that much. The difference between 76% as a rookie and 85% last year is due to missing a grand total of **two more** field goals.

    He’s improved every season in terms of overall %.

    Kickers do not get a good enough sample size to really judge how good they are. The cycling through them is more like shuffling the decks on the Titanic than anything worthwhile.

    Sturgis attempted 41 FGs last year. Compare the NBA, where Steph Curry attempted 1443 FGs, and 362 FTs.

    Sample size is why we know Steph is a great shooter, and why we judge placekickers superstitiously, when they happen to hit on or miss important shots which are essentially random.

  27. 27 wee2424 said at 11:49 PM on August 20th, 2017:

    Wow, Bills GM must be ecstatic/thanking the high heavens that he got JM as a “throw in”.

    I bet you Howie is pissed that the trade didn’t happen post Boldin retirement.

  28. 28 ChoTime said at 2:17 PM on August 21st, 2017:

    Boldin’s never been very helpful to the Eagles, has he?