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  1. Is there room in crowded Eagles' linebacker room for Taylor? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Davion Taylor isn’t thinking about playing time, roster spots or the depth chart. Not yet. For now, he's working together with the linebackers he'll be competing with this summer trying to help raise the level of the entire group. "Right now, we’ve been trying to just get better as a group,” Taylor said as OTAs wrapped up last week. "I haven’t really thought about my role, what my role’s going to be when the season starts. I feel like that’s going to play out. "So right now we’re all just really helping each other as individuals. I feel like if we help each other get better as individuals, we’ll get better as a group. You never know how the season may go, so we all need to just be ready to go at any time." Taylor was limited to just nine games last year after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter of the Week 11 win over the Saints at the Linc. He had played fairly well in six starts after replacing starting linebacker Eric Wilson, who was released. But even though the injury wasn’t expected to be season-ending, we never saw Taylor again. "It was frustrating not being able to come back on the field because my biggest thing was trying to come back at least for the playoffs or something like that,” Taylor said. "But as I was rehabbing I saw I wasn’t going to be ready so it was really just a decision by the trainers and myself to try to just make sure I’ll be back for OTAs and be ready to go then. "It was very disappointing because I realized I was starting to get better, my processing was getting better, my movement was getting better, so the biggest thing coming off that injury was making sure I started off where I left off. "It was a setback but it let me hone in on my fundamentals during the offseason when I started healing back up.” Since he got hurt, Taylor’s off-ball linebacker position has gotten much more crowded. The Eagles signed Kyzir White, who is mainly a weak-side linebacker, and drafted Nakobe Dean, who is working at both weak and middle. Taylor said he’s been working at both spots as well as he goes into Year 3. "Whatever I have to focus on just to make sure I know the playbook,” he said. "Because I feel like last year I was able to master it for the most part. So now it’s being able to learn multiple positions. Because I don’t want to be focused on just one position because you never know how the game may go. I may have to move to a position at the last minute and I want to be able to know what I’m doing.” Taylor said he’s learned a lot watching White, who’s going into his fifth year, and said he’ll worry about competition when the time comes. "We all know we’re going to compete, but he’s a vet, he’s been in the league longer, so I ask him questions about things he’s seen that I probably haven’t seen,” Taylor said. "It’s helped me a lot.” That really goes for all the Eagles linebackers. Taylor said they’re a close-knit group, focused on helping one another learn and grow and develop. "We’re helping each other out,” he said. "When the time comes I know we’re going to have to compete, but right now it’s about getting better as a team and getting better as a group.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/davion-taylor-not-concerned-where-he-fits-eagles-crowded-linebacker-room
  2. Why A.J. Brown doesn't care about making anybody's highlight reel Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER A.J. Brown is a wide receiver with the mentality of a linebacker. He doesn’t care about running around looking pretty, putting sweet moves on d-backs and speeding untouched down the sideline. He’s looking for a cornerback to blow up. He’s looking for a defender to run over. He’s looking for contact. "That just comes with me being fearless,” Brown said. "I try my best to not let one guy tackle me, and if I see one guy I’ve got to get past him. "I’m not trying to create a highlight reel, I don’t care about being on a highlight reel. I'm not trying to put double moves on or anything like that. "I’m trying to score touchdowns. However it may look, I get past him, run him over him, I’m trying to score. That’s my objective when I have the ball in my hands. I’m just trying to score.” Brown has done that 24 times in the last three years on a wide assortment of plays. His 24 TD catches since his rookie year in 2019 are 10th-most in the league. Since then, Brown has a league-high seven touchdowns of 50 yards or more but also seven of 9 yards or fewer. He’s a threat from anywhere on the field, and now he’s an Eagle, and this is going to be fun. "He's going to bring toughness,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. "This guy is relentless. When you watch him on film, he's hard to tackle. "He's a big-body receiver that's very explosive, and when you see him on the practice field running routes, you can see the play strength, the explosive ability, in and out of breaks, and he just brings a great mindset to that room.” Changing teams isn’t as easy as just changing uniforms. Especially when you have to learn a new language that just happens to use the same vocabulary as your old language. "It’s coming along,” Brown said during OTAs. "I’m learning as I’m going. It was a curveball at first because it is a new offense I have to learn, basically the same words but a different meaning, so just trying to unlearn a lot of things and progress as I go. "It takes time, just trying to get splits right and everything. I’m learning, I pretty much think I learned the offense in a couple weeks.” You’d have to go back to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to find two Eagles wide receivers who can do the things Brown and DeVonta Smith can do. From 2009 through 2011, the three seasons Jackson and Maclin played together and were both healthy, the Eagles had the 8th-best record in the NFL and the 9th-best passing offense in the league. Having two legit receivers is rare around here, but the Eagles certainly have it now. "It takes the pressure off the other guy,” Brown said. “(If I take) cornerback No. 1 and I go against him, that gives another really talented receiver to go against cornerback No. 2. In my opinion Smitty’s a wide receiver No. 1 and he’s going against a cornerback No. 2 , and I expect Smitty to dominate. "You can’t really double. It’s great having another great wide out besides you.” Smith set an Eagles rookie record with 916 yards last year, and Brown has averaged 997 yards in his three NFL seasons. Factor in Dallas Goedert, who had a career-high 830 yards last year, and Quez Watkins, who ranked 5th in the NFL among wide receivers in yards per target in his first season as a regular and you’ve got a group that should be able to put tremendous pressure on defenses. "Really excited obviously to have A.J.,” Nick Sirianni said. "He's very talented. This is a talented wide receiver group. Really talented wide receiver group that we're looking forward to working with.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/why-new-eagles-receiver-aj-brown-doesnt-care-about-making-highlight-reel
  3. In Roob's Observations: Did Roseman get a steal in undrafted rookie QB? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Did Howie Roseman steal a quarterback? What about Brian Westbrook’s historic postseason? And an insane Jordan Mailata stat. It’s this weekend’s edition of Roob’s 10 random Eagles offseason observations! 1. Devon Allen has understandably gotten the most interest when it comes to the Eagles’ 2022 crop of undrafted free agents. But Carson Strong is a fascinating one, too. There are some obvious concerns with Strong. It’s never a good sign when you have two knee surgeries before your 23rd birthday. There are concerns about how his knees will hold up and whether he can move around enough to survive in the NFL. But as an undrafted free agent? Before his knee injuries he was expected to be a first-round pick. Then he went into this draft projected as a third-round pick. And the Eagles got him for virtually nothing. Strong this past year became only the eighth BCS quarterback in the last 20 years to throw 36 or more touchdowns, eight or fewer interceptions, complete better than 70 percent of his passes and pass for over 4,000 yards. He’s got a huge arm, he’s a smart kid, he’s got great size at 6-3, 225 pounds and his production at Nevada was off the charts. Now, he’s still a long shot. The last undrafted rookie QB to make the Eagles’ roster was Brad Goebel in 1991. The last undrafted QB to even throw a pass for the Eagles was Jeff Garcia. But I love the idea of keeping Strong around as the No. 3, giving him time to get healthy and learn the offense, and taking your time figuring out if you have something. If you don’t? It cost you $320,000, which is a drop in the bucket when it comes to finding a quarterback. If you do? You just stole an NFL QB without using a draft pick. Howie being Howie. 2. How good was Mike Quick? During the four years from 1983 through 1986, before the Vet turf began ravaging his knees, Quick averaged 1,161 yards, 17.7 yards per catch and 10.5 touchdowns. No other receiver in Eagles history has ever had one season with those numbers. And that’s what Quick averaged over four seasons. Best in Eagles history. 3. Kenny Gainwell had 544 scrimmage yards and six TDs last year on 101 touches and Boston Scott had 456 scrimmage yards and seven TDs on 100 touches. They became the first NFL teammates in 69 years to each have at least 450 scrimmage yards and six TDs on 101 or fewer touches. The last teammates to do it were also Eagles: Hal Giancanelli (477 yards, 6 TDs, 64 touches) and Don Johnson (666 yards, 7 TDs, 95 touches) in 1953. 4. I don’t think Jaquiski Tartt is a difference maker at safety. He’s got four interceptions, two forced fumbles and four sacks in 80 career games. But he does give the Eagles desperately needed depth behind starters Marcus Epps and Anthony Harris. I still think Rodney McLeod is better than both Tartt and Harris, and even at his age — McLeod turns 32 later this week — I’d rather have him on the field than either one of them. McLeod started off slowly last year coming off that ACL tear, but by the end of the season he looked pretty good. I’m also still not sure Harris or Tartt is a better option than K’Von Wallace. We really don’t know about Wallace yet. With a good summer I wouldn’t be surprised if Wallace moves up the safety depth chart past Tartt and maybe even past Harris. 5. It must be a pretty darn good offseason if all we can find to complain about is a wordmark. What the heck is a wordmark anyway? 6. In the 2006 postseason, Brian Westbrook ran 20 times for 141 yards in the wild-card win over the Giants and 13 times for 116 yards in the loss to the Saints a week later. That makes him the only player in NFL history with consecutive postseason games with 12 or more carries and a 7.0 rushing average. Marcus Allen is the only other RB with two such games in a postseason, but they weren’t consecutive. Allen (8.0) and Westbrook (7.8) are the only players ever to average over 7.0 yards per carry in a postseason with at least 30 rushing attempts. 7. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Hurts is the only quarterback in NFL history with 10 or more rushing touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in a season. 8. There are 32 modern wide receivers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jordan Matthews had more catches in his first three seasons than 31 of them. Randy Moss had 226 catches in his first three years, Matthews had 225. 9. No quarterback the Eagles are currently expected to face in 2022 won a playoff game in 2021. Four of them lost playoff games (Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill). 10. This is insane, but until 21 months ago, Jordan Mailata had never played football. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/carson-strong-eagles-observations-jalen-hurts-mike-quick
  4. Sirianni has been learning from two Philly coaching legends Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER If you’re going to get advice from other coaches, you may as well get it from two of the best ever. Dick Vermeil is one of seven coaches in history to take two teams to a Super Bowl and he’ll be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer. Jay Wright is one of only 15 coaches in college basketball history to win two national titles and the recently retired Villanova coach is already in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Unless you're hanging out with Vince Lombardi and John Wooden, you can’t do much better than that. Nick Sirianni isn’t in any Hall of Fames just yet and is only one year into his NFL head coaching career, but he sure seems to know how to pick out his friends. Sirianni said this past week he’s grown close with both Vermeil and Wright and has used both as sounding boards as he navigates his own coaching path. "I get to go out to dinner with Jay Wright, one of the best basketball coaches of all time, and Dick Vermeil — and that's the first time I've said ‘Jay’ or ‘Dick Vermeil.’ It's 'coach,' right?" Sirianni said. "And to be able to go out there, and yeah, I'm asking them questions. Obviously I'll keep those conversations private, but what great knowledge they have and how unbelievable (an opportunity). "I feel so honored that they're willing to share that with me. Coach Wright being an Eagles fan, he's willing to share that with me, and his amount of information that he has, and same thing with coach Vermeil.” Vermeil hasn’t coached in 17 years, and Wright coached a different sport before stepping down at Villanova in April. But none of that really matters because there are so many lessons successful coaches can teach that transcend their sport. Lessons in communication, leadership, persistence, dealing with adversity. And Vermeil is one of the few other people in the world who can write "Eagles head coach" on his resume. "Everything we learn is from somebody,” Sirianni said. "You don't just step into this role. You learn it by watching somebody. That's how I feel like you get into a role like this is because you've been so observant about the good coaches you've been around in the past and the bad coaches you've been around in the past and what you're going to repeat. "I've had that from the very beginning with my dad, growing up in a coach's house. I've learned a lot of good things there, to college, to the NFL coaches I've worked with, like Frank Reich. And then … I love reading and really more watching the documentaries on these guys and what makes good teams work and good players work and good coaches work.” It took Vermeil three years to reach the playoffs as an NFL head coach and 10 seasons (plus a 14-year gap) to win a Super Bowl. Wright didn’t have a winning record until his fourth year at Hofstra and didn’t win a national title until his 22nd season. But both became legends and Hall of Famers, and Sirianni said he kept in touch with both during his rookie season as a head coach, when the Eagles became only the fifth team in NFL history to reach the playoffs after a 3-6 start. "I got encouragement and support from those guys through the entire year,” Wright said. "They have my cell phone number, and I’d get a text from them. Win or lose, when it felt like I needed a good text of some support or some advice, I was getting that. "That's what good coaches do. They know when to give some support, they know when to give some advice, they know when to praise. "Those guys are really phenomenal coaches, and I'm very thankful I'm able to have their number to ask them a question here or there. I would have loved to have them as a 23-year-old coach, and be like, ‘Hey, I'm going to call Coach Wright.’ But I have them now, so that's awesome.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nick-sirianni-eagles-dick-vermeil-jay-wright
  5. 'Got to get him going:' How Eagles are approaching Reagor Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER They haven’t given up on Jalen Reagor. Why would they? Whether or not the Eagles can salvage anything out of their 2020 1st-round pick remains to be seen, but simply because of his salary cap situation it makes sense for them to continue trying to turn him into a productive NFL player. Reagor will cost the Eagles more in cap space if they cut him ($6.03 million in dead cap in 2022, $1.8 million in 2023) than if they keep him ($3.02 million in 2022, $3.6 million in 2023). So there's nothing to lose. Is it a longshot? Probably. But every NFL player develops at his own pace, and it looks like getting something out of Reagor this year is one of the Eagles’ projects this summer. "He’s just been working consistently hard, man,” said Darius Slay, who’s always been a big supporter of Reagor. "Right now, he’s just been grinding. "We brought A.J. (Brown) in, so A.J.’s teaching him a little bit, too,. So he’s understanding the game more. "He’s still young. I think Reagor’s only 23 years old and in his third year going into the league and (23) was my second year in the league, so he’s still learning. "He’s works hard, and we’ve got to get him going. That’s it. We’ve got to all be behind him.” Slay is right, and Reagor doesn’t turn 24 until January. Through two years in the league, he has 64 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns. He’s among only four WRs in the last 40 years to start at least 10 games in each of his first two seasons and finish both with fewer than 400 yards. The others are Miles Boykin, Nelson Agholor and Darrius Heyward-Bey. But the Eagles will keep trying. "He's explosive,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said Friday. "That's one of his biggest assets. He's an explosive player. He still has that ability to run routes and be fast and strong and physical, and again, we're just continuing to improve on those things every single day.” Agholor is the closest precedent if you’re looking for hope. Nelly’s numbers his first two years were almost identical to Reagor’s – five fewer catches, 47 fewer yards, same number of touchdowns. But he became a functional player over the next two years with 126 catches, just over 1,500 yards, 12 TDs and a brilliant Super Bowl. Then he had nearly 900 yards and eight TDs for the Raiders in 2020. So it is possible. Stranger things have happened. At best Reagor would be the Eagles' 5th WR behind Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal. And there's also steady Greg Ward in the mix and other projects such as Devon Allen, John Hightower and Britain Covey. Reagor, the 21st player drafted in 2020, is one of two wide receivers the Eagles drafted in the early rounds in the years after the Super Bowl who's trying to jumpstart his career this summer. J.J. Arcega Whiteside, a 2nd-round pick in 2019, has just 16 catches for 290 yards and one TD in three seasons. He caught just two passes last year. He’s the only wide receiver drafted in the first or second round in the last 30 years to play at least 40 games and catch fewer than 20 passes in his first three seasons. JJAW has converted to tight end this summer and faces even longer odds than Reagor. "Those are two great men, two great guys and great players,” Jalen Hurts said. "They come in here with the mentality of going to work every day. "They’re asking questions, they’re eager to learn, eager to do things right, execute their assignments and their job. I’m excited to see what they do for us this year.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/jalen-reagor-eagles-approach-2022-nfl-season
  6. Goedert explains how Hurts has changed Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Now it’s not just theoretical. Now it’s not just speculation. After two weeks of OTAs, his coach and his favorite target both raved about Jalen Hurts and how different he looks from last year. It’s early. It’s 7-on-7. It’s non-contact. All the usual caveats apply. But listening to Dallas Goedert and Nick Sirianni Wednesday, it sure sounds like Hurts has made some significant upgrades to his game. Upgrades he had to make. "Jalen looks really good,” Goedert said. "Just him going through his reads, his progressions, I feel like the ball’s got a little more zip on it, he’s getting it out a little bit quicker, you see kind of a 1-2-3 throw. He doesn’t have as many hitches, he’s seeing the game faster, which is really promising.” In that one little quote, Goedert addressed pretty much every criticism of Hurts and every significant area he needed to improve this offseason. Again, we’re a week into June, and it’s a big leap from showing signs of improvement during non-contact OTAs to doing it in regular-season games against big-time defenses in a packed stadium. But it’s a step in the right direction. "Jalen is, in my opinion, more comfortable in the offense,” Sirianni said. "That's just the part of the process the second year (in this offense). He knows where the receivers are going to be vs. different looks. He knows where to go with the football a little bit quicker. … "I've also noticed just the crispness of the drop. It's been the fundamentals -- his fundamentals have improved, and he's really worked hard at that. He’s really seeing where to go with the football and going there quick. "What we've done as coaches is figured out what he likes and what he's good at and all these different things. It's just accumulating those reps.” There’s really no reason to think Hurts wouldn’t improve in his third year in the NFL and second year as a starter in Sirianni’s offense. He made big strides in key areas from Year 1 to Year 2 – accuracy, ball control, decision making. And it sounds like he’s focused on those areas in the five months since last year ended. "The reason we know Jalen is going to continue to get better is because of the character and the football character and the personal character that he has,” Sirianni said. "He's just the type of guy that's going to reach his maximum potential because of all the off-the-field qualities he has.” It’s possible to appreciate some encouraging early signs at minicamp while still acknowledging that in the big picture it doesn’t mean a whole lot. "He's working every day to get better, and I'm really pleased where he is right now, but we have to continue to lay the groundwork,” Sirianni said. "That he went 11 of 12 [Tuesday] in 7-on-7 means nothing. He has to continue to get better and better and better. … Have to keep working that because it's just going to get harder and harder.” Goedert – as well as some of the other pass catchers – spent a lot of time with Hurts since last year ended, and he’s convinced that Hurts will do everything he can to maximize his ability. "His determination to be great is something that you see every day,” Goedert said. "I was out there in California with him working, and the detail that he has with the coaches looking at film, looking at his throwing mechanics, things like that. He really wants to be great and he shows that each and every day.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/dallas-goedert-explains-how-eagles-quarterback-jalen-hurts-has-changed
  7. One-time Eagles phenom still trying to recapture magic Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER He was a brief blip in Eagles history, an obscure practice squad receiver, then out of nowhere the best wideout in the NFL for five weeks. And then just as suddenly? Back to obscurity. Travis Fulgham is one of the strangest stories in Eagles history. After getting released by the Lions and Packers, Fulgham was in training camp with the Eagles in the summer of 2020. They released him at the end of camp, signed him to the practice squad, then signed him to the 53 out of desperation in early October. For five weeks, it was magic. From Week 4 through Week 8, Fulgham led the NFL with 29 catches, 435 yards and four touchdowns. In his first five career games playing wide receiver, he was the best in the league. He had the 3rd-most yards in Eagles history by a player in his first eight career games ... even though three of those games were with the Lions. "It was amazing, a dream come true,” Fulgham said recently in an interview with the Athletic’s Broncos reporter Nick Kosmider. "I’ve probably never been happier in my life, just going out there and balling and doing what I love and being able to help a city like Philly win some games. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, but people saw what I can do.” It lasted five weeks and ended with a thud. After joining DeSean Jackson and Terrell Owens as the only Eagles wide receivers in the last 25 years with four straight 70-yard games – including 152 yards in Pittsburgh and a 4th-quarter go-ahead 42-yard TD from Carson Wentz San Francisco – Fulgham fell off the face of the Earth. He caught just nine passes for 104 yards the rest of the year, going from 87 yards per game in his first five games as an Eagle to 13 yards per game. He still managed to lead the Eagles with 539 receiving yards, which probably says more about the 2020 Eagles than Fulgham. The Eagles released him after training camp last year and he spent last year bouncing between the Miami and Denver practice squads. He played in one game for the Broncos at the end of the year, getting seven snaps on special teams and two on offense. By the time the 2022 season opens, he’ll have gone 20 months without catching a pass. But Fulgham hasn’t given up. The Broncos saw enough from Fulgham at practice last year to find a spot for him on the 90-man roster this summer, and according to Kosmider he’s looked good in OTAs over the past couple weeks with a touchdown catch from Russell Wilson on a red zone route and a catch on a deep ball from Josh Johnson. Fulgham is only 26, and although he’s still fighting an uphill battle just to make the Broncos’ roster, there aren’t a lot of guys out there who’ve had 435 yards in a five-game stretch or a 150-yard game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. There’s talent in there somewhere. So far, he’s spent time with five NFL franchises over parts of three seasons and had one incredible five-game stretch and 2 ½ years of virtually nothing. "It’s definitely a business first, I’ll say that,” Fulgham told the Athletic. "All I can do is stick to my game and do what I do. "I didn’t go anywhere. It’s just kind of how the situation ended up. But I haven’t gone anywhere. My game is still here. I can take over a game if I want to.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/one-time-eagles-phenom-travis-fulgham-still-trying-recapture-magic
  8. In Roob's Observations: Will youngest Eagle wear the green dot helmet? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Who’s going to wear the green dot helmet? How underrated was Correll Buckhalter? And what was the best way to sneak beer into the Vet? We’re all over the map in this weekend’s Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations. We might even share a newspaper account of the first touchdown in Eagles history. 1. The green dot helmet on defense generally goes to the smartest, most experienced and savvy veteran who’s going to be on the field the most. Smart so he can process plays called in from the coach, experienced so he can seamlessly communicate complex concepts to his teammates, on the field the most in the interest of consistency. So who makes the most sense to wear the green dot for the Eagles this year? The youngest guy on the roster. Nakobe Dean, who just turned 21 in December, has dazzled the Eagles’ coaches with his intelligence since the pre-draft process began. He’s already learning both the Mike and Will positions, and if all goes according to plan, his versatility and intelligence — and ability — mean he’s going to play most of the defensive snaps. If Dean does start, he’ll be the Eagles’ youngest defensive starter since safety Joe Scarpati in 1964 — by about three months. Dean still has to prove he can handle the additional responsibility on top of showing he can handle 65 snaps a game. But as it stands now, three months before opening day, Dean has a chance to hold a position of tremendous responsibility and importance several months before his 22nd birthday. 2. Tommy McDonald once had 237 receiving yards in a home game vs. the Giants. Jalen Reagor has 227 yards in all the home games he’s ever played. 3. Isaac Seumalo will either start at right guard this year or get cut. Weird, right? There’s no in between for Seumalo, now entering his seventh year with the Eagles. With Brandon Brooks retired, he’s getting the first crack at right guard after two injury-plagued seasons. With a $5.65 million base salary and a $7.668 million cap figure, Seumalo is the 21st-highest-paid guard in the league, but his cap figure in 2022 is eighth-highest. All of which is fine if he’s starting and playing at a high level. That’s good value. Seumalo is a solid guy when he’s healthy. He’s a better-than-average guard, and there’s no reason to think he can’t handle right guard, where he hasn’t played since 2016. But if he struggles? If he has a tough training camp? If it’s not working out? The Eagles aren’t going to keep him around as a $7.668 million backup. They have decent alternatives, like Jack Driscoll and Sua Opeta, who both have cap figures right around $1 million. Cutting Seumalo would clear $5.65 million in cap space while counting about $2.1 million in dead money this year and $3.8 million next year. So he starts or he’s gone. 4. How talented a play caller is Shane Steichen? We don’t know exactly when he took over as full-time play caller last year, but we do know it was somewhere before the Lions game in Week 7. And from that game on, the Eagles ranked seventh in scoring [28 points per game], 10th in yards per play [5.6], eighth in first downs [22 per game], first on 3rd down [49 percent] and even middle of the pack in passing efficiency [89.9 passer rating]. He's pretty darn good at it. Letting Steichen continue calling plays this year makes a ton of sense. 5. From 2001 through 2008, Correll Buckhalter missed three of eight seasons with torn ACLs. In each of the five seasons he did play, he had at least 50 carries and averaged at least 4.2 yards per carry. The only other running backs in Eagles history with five straight seasons at 4.2 yards per carry are LeSean McCoy and Steve Van Buren. Buck’s 4.5 career average remains fifth-highest ever by an Eagles RB. If Buck’s knees hadn’t repeatedly failed him, he would have been one of the best running backs in Eagles history. 6. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Only five quarterbacks in NFL history (minimum 500 attempts) have averaged 12 yards per completion in their career but also averaged one interception every 40 passes or better. They are Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Hurts. 7. Eagles fans used to be so creative sneaking beer into the Vet. The way the ramps were wide open allowed fans who had entered the stadium to set up simply pulley systems and lower buckets or baskets down to fans on ground level who hadn’t entered the stadium yet. The guys outside the stadium stuffed the beer in the bucket, the guys on the ramp pulled the bucket up, the guys outside came into the stadium, and just like that you had snuck a case of beer past security. Brilliant. 8. It was awesome seeing 34-year-old Brandon Graham running around at practice Friday looking fit and healthy. It’s hard to imagine this team without him. 9. DeVonta Smith had 916 receiving yards last year, A.J. Brown had 869 and Dallas Goedert 830. This is the first time ever the Eagles will go into a season with three guys who had at least 825 receiving yards the previous year. 10. Ever wonder who scored the first touchdown in Eagles history? It was Swede Hanson, a Central Jersey native (Middletown, Monmouth County) and former Temple star. Hanson began his NFL career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1931 and spent 1932 with the Staten Island Stapletons, who folded after the season. The expansion Eagles didn’t score in their first two games in 1933, but on Oct. 29, 1933, in the second quarter of a 35-9 loss to the Packers at City Stadium in Green Bay, Hanson scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Red Kirkman. Here’s how the Philadelphia Inquirer saw it the next day in a non-bylined story: "Kirkman faded back and looped a beauty right into the waiting embrace of Hanson. The latter caught the ball on the 15-yard-line, snatching out of the eager paws of two Green Bay men who were covering the Swede. Hanson wheeled and circled about this posse and skipped over the goal line for the first touchdown the Eagles have tallied this season against league foemen.” Hanson spent five years with the Eagles — he was second in the NFL in rushing in 1934 — before finishing his career with the Steelers in 1938. After his football career, he worked as a mechanic at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, just down Broad Street from where the Eagles would play 40 years later. Hanson was only 62 when he died in Philly in 1970. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-observations-nakobe-dean-shane-steichen-jalen-hurts
  9. After major departures, Eagles announce front office restructure Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles on Friday afternoon announced their lengthy full list of front office promotions and new hires. As reported earlier in the day, Jon Ferrari and Alex Halaby were promoted to assistant general manager, but Howie Roseman made numerous other moves as part of a full restructure of the front office. The Eagles' front office is structured in two tiers with the hires falling either under football operations (salary cap, financial planning, player development, equipment, etc.) and scouting. The Eagles lost numerous high-ranking members of the scouting department this offseason, with Brandon Brown, Ian Cunningham, Catherine Raîche and Andy Weidl all leaving for assistant general manager positions and several other scouts and assistants let go. Among the key hires and promotions in addition to Ferrari and Halaby: • Former Broncos vice president of player personnel Matt Russell was named senior personnel director/advisor to the general manager. • Former Steelers scouting director Brandon Hunt was named director of scouting. • Former Browns national scout Charles Walls was named director of player personnel. • Former Eagles Pro Bowler Connor Barwin was promoted from special assistant to the general manager to director of player development. • Eagles vice president of team security Dom DiSandro was promoted to senior adviser to the general manager/chief security officer. • Eagles personnel executive Dave Caldwell was promoted to senior personnel director/adviser to the general manager. • Eagles director of college scouting Alan Wolking was promoted to director of player personnel. Among the scouting hires are two South Jersey natives who played in the NFL: Rod Streater of Burlington Township was hired as a northeast area scout, and Ben Ijalana was hired as a scouting assistant. Streater, who played at Temple, spent six years as an NFL wide receiver and caught 127 passes for 1,755 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ijalana, who played at Villanova, spent four years as an NFL offensive lineman. Here’s the full rundown of the current Eagles’ scouting and football operations departments: Football operations Jon Ferrari – Assistant General Manager Alec Halaby – Assistant General Manager Dom DiSandro – Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Chief Security Officer Bryce Johnston – Vice President of Football Transactions and Strategic Planning Paul Lancaster – Senior Director of Player Engagement Connor Barwin – Director of Player Development James Gilman – Director of Football Analytics Jeff Scott – Director of Football Operations Jon Liu – Assistant Director of Football Analytics Kathy Mair – Player Resource Coordinator/Assistant Director of Player Engagement Patrick McDowell – Player Development Assistant/Scout Nick Still – Assistant Equipment Manager Scouting Dave Caldwell – Senior Personnel Director/Advisor to the General Manager Alan Wolking – Director of Player Personnel Phil Bhaya – Director of Draft Management Max Gruder – Director of Pro Scouting Ameena Soliman – Director of Personnel Operations/Pro Scout Ryan Myers – Assistant Director of College Scouting Matt Holland – Senior College/Pro Scout New hires Football operations Zach Drapkin – Quantitative Analyst Marlon Sanders – Video Assistant Elsie Reyes – Administrative Assistant, Football Operations Scouting Matt Russell – Senior Personnel Director/Advisor to the General Manager Brandon Hunt – Director of Scouting Charles Walls – Director of Player Personnel Jeremy Gray – Assistant Director of Pro Personnel Jordon Dizon – National Scout Jarrod Kilburn – College/Pro Scout Rod Streater – Northeast Area Scout Ben Ijalana – Scouting Assistant https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-promote-connor-barwin-part-massive-front-office-restructure
  10. Finally an answer to who likely begins season at right guard Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles have a new right guard, and it’s their old left guard. It looks like veteran Isaac Seumalo, who lost his left guard job to Landon Dickerson, will get first crack at the right guard spot that became available when Brandon Brooks retired. Seumalo last played right guard in 2016, when he started games against the Packers and Washington in place of Brooks. Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen hinted before Friday’s OTA practice that Seumalo will take over at right guard. "We're working through all that stuff right now,” he said. "Isaac is back obviously healthy, but he looks good right now and we'll go from there.” With Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson taking the day off from the voluntary session, the 1st-team offensive line lined up with Andre Dillard, Dickerson, Cam Jurgens, Seumalo and Jack Driscoll. Now, it’s possible that if Johnson were at practice, Driscoll would be at left guard. But probably not. Most likely, he will begin the season as a backup guard and tackle. Seumalo, 28, has played in 64 games since 2016 and started 43, the last 41 at left guard. The Eagles believe that when he’s healthy, he’s a tough, consistent and smart offensive lineman who’s equally capable of handling right guard as left guard. Seumalo began the 2017 season as the starter before getting replaced by Stefen Wisniewski for the rest of the Super Bowl run. He then replaced Wisniewski halfway through the 2018 season. Seumalo started all 16 games at left guard in 2019 but was limited to just 12 games over the last two seasons because of injuries – a knee in 2020 and a Lisfranc foot sprain last year, both requiring surgery. With Brooks missing virtually all of the last two seasons, the Eagles have used eight different right guards in 33 games since opening day 2020: Nate Herbig [12 starts], Jack Driscoll [8 starts], Matt Pryor [6], Jason Peters [2], Brooks [2], Dickerson [1], Jack Anderson [1] and Sua Opeta [1]. With Brooks retired and Herbig released, the main candidates for the right guard job this summer are Seumalo, Driscoll and Opeta. Jurgens, the rookie 2nd-round pick, can play guard and is expected to take some reps there but is essentially a center. All the Eagles’ interior linemen can play either guard spot, but when Dickerson played at such a high level after replacing Seumalo in Week 4 last year and developing a real bond with Mailata, the Eagles had no reason to move Dickerson back to right guard. "For us, going through the season and seeing Landon and Jordan next to each other, I mean, that's imposing,” GM Howie Roseman said earlier this month. "We felt like the chemistry that they had developed going forward and how young those guys are, just developing that left side (made sense).” Seumalo is fairly expensive. He’s due $5.65 million this year with a $7.668 cap figure on the final year of his contract. If the Eagles release him, they would take on $5.856 million in dead money but save about $1.8 million in cap space. If they release him with a post-June 1 designation, they can spread out the cap hit to $2.018 million in 2022 and $3.838 million in 2023, which would give them $5.65 million in cap savings this year. But as it stands now, the 2016 3rd-round pick appears to be the projected starter. "Isaac has played a lot of football,” Nick Sirianni said earlier this month. "We know how good of a football player he is. We'll see how everything shakes out. Isaac is coming off an injury, but Jack Driscoll played meaningful snaps (last year), Sua did a great job of stepping in (and) Cam (is) in the mix there. We have a lot of good options there. "I think the one thing that I am continuously amazed about this place is the depth we have. Not only do we have a great starting offensive and defensive line, which is arguably one of the better ones in the NFL, we have depth at those positions, too.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/isaac-seumalo-likely-get-first-shot-eagles-right-guard-spot?fbclid=IwAR0RUWlgE_r6hoGJJRLHLz9QfNySnfHT-YhijINOI5BWTOd9CDZbDoye9w4
  11. What would Julian Lurie taking over mean for the Eagles? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER I get that Julian Lurie is an easy target. I get that he was born into tremendous wealth. I get that it can be tough to relate to someone whose dad is worth $3 ½ billion. But make no mistake about it. Jeff Lurie grooming his son to take over the family business is terrific news for any true Eagles fan. Julian has spent the last two years informally studying every aspect of the franchise’s business and football operations in preparation for quite possibly taking over one day for his dad, who turns 71 in September. Now Julian is officially a team employee, putting in the work every day, learning the business of running an NFL franchise, and that’s commendable. It would be one thing if Julian were out partying in South Beach, tweeting out selfies from daddy’s yacht and acting like some kind of spoiled rich kid spending the family fortune and waiting to be handed the keys to the kingdom. But nothing seems further from the case. I’ve never met Julian Lurie, and everything I know about him is what I’ve observed. And instead of making quick judgments based on the family’s wealth, it’s important to base our opinions on what we see. And by all accounts, Julian is devoting his time to being as prepared as possible for the likelihood that one day in the not-too-distant future the franchise will be his. Keeping the Eagles in the Lurie family for another generation would be an enormous positive for the franchise’s long-term health. Whatever you think of Lurie personally, he’s one of the most successful owners in Philadelphia sports history and has overseen an era of tremendous success for the franchise. Obviously there are more playoff rounds than there used to be, but still: This is a franchise that had won three playoff games in the 35 years before Lurie bought it from Norman Braman in 1994 and has won 15 since. Including a Super Bowl. Only four teams have won more playoff games than the Eagles since Lurie took over — the Patriots, Packers, Steelers and Ravens — and all also have stable ownership. How can it possibly be a bad thing that his likely successor is learning how to carry on that tradition? Would you prefer Lurie one day sells to some huge corporation that doesn’t have Eagles fans’ best interest at heart? Would you prefer he sells to some out-of-town billionaire who only looks at the team as an investment? Would you prefer the team lands in the hands of someone who doesn’t share Lurie’s devotion to the Eagles and the city? Julian Lurie grew up in Philly, and the Eagles have been the biggest thing in his life since the day he was born. He understands the unique relationship between the franchise and the city because he grew up living it every day. And now he’s formally part of the organization putting in the work to give himself the best chance possible at succeeding if he does indeed one day become majority owner of the team. We’ve all seen owners in this city who are only out to make money. Who aren’t deeply committed to the franchise they’re running. Who don’t even live here and don’t care about the fans. Maybe Julian Lurie will be a disaster as an owner. There’s really no way to know for sure. But it does seem that he’s a serious-minded guy who’s taking every imaginable step to be ready when the opportunity comes. If you don’t like it, spend a moment considering the alternative. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/what-would-julian-lurie-taking-over-franchise-mean-eagles
  12. The importance of Sirianni keeping coaching staff together Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Change is inevitable, as the saying goes. But not every year. Sometimes it makes sense just to keep things the way they are, and for Nick Sirianni it made sense to keep his coaching staff together for a second straight season. And that's rare. This is the first time in 17 years the Eagles have had no significant changes on their coaching staff from one year to the next. Andy Reid had the same staff in 2004 and 2005, and every offseason since, at least one position coach or coordinator has changed. It's not unusual for a Super Bowl team to keep the same staff simply because by the time its season is over in early February most openings around the league have been filled. And in 2005, Brad Childress, Jim Johnson and John Harbaugh remained coordinators, Marty Mornhinweg, Pat Shurmur, Ted Williams, David Culley and Juan Castillo remained in place on the offensive side with Tommy Brasher, Steve Spagnuolo, Trent Walters and Sean McDermott on the defensive side. This past offseason, three of Sirianni’s assistants were linked to possible promotions. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was up for head coaching jobs with the Texans, Broncos and Vikings; quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson interviewed for the Packers’ offensive coordinator position; and passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo was reportedly on the Bears’ radar for their offensive coordinator position, although he never actually interviewed as far as we know. There’s a lot to be said for continuity, and a head coach bringing back his entire coaching staff for a second season is unusual but huge for returning players who don’t have to start over with a new position coach or coordinator. They don’t have to start from scratch figuring out what their coach is looking for in meetings and at practice, they don’t have to learn new ways of communicating on gameday, they don’t have to adjust to whatever methods of teaching every new coach is going to have. The entire group can just pick up where they left off at the end of last year. And it’s big for the coaches, too. As much time as they spend together studying film, crafting gameplans and teaching players, a second year together will only make that process smoother and more advanced. It was clear by the end of last year that Sirianni had assembled a solid teaching staff and a group whose positivity and energy matched his. To go from 2-5 in late October to the postseason speaks volumes not just about Sirianni but about his assistants. The Eagles became only the ninth team in NFL history to reach the playoffs after a 2-5 start and only the sixth to reach the playoffs with a winning record. That’s a direct reflection of what the coaching staff was able to build. Now, it is fair to question the work of some of the assistants. Aaron Moorehead has actually been here since Doug Pederson’s last season, and the performance of the wide receivers hasn’t been great, DeVonta Smith’s rookie year notwithstanding. But that could be more of a talent issue than a coaching issue. We’ll get a better feel for him this year now that he seemingly has a deep and talented cast to work with. Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker’s unit seemed to underachieve much of the year, although Javon Hargrave and Josh Sweat did ultimately make the Pro Bowl as alternates. And Michael Clay’s special teams group struggled in just about every area last year – in the return game, covering kicks and punts and obviously punting. He’s back for a second season as well. But for the most part, this appears to be a good staff, and if the Eagles have another successful year, it’s going to be very hard for Sirianni to continue keeping them together. Gannon is a lock for a head coaching job in the next year or two if the defense plays well, Johnson and Patullo are highly regarded offensive coaches who will likely have coordinator opportunities in the future, linebackers coach Nick Rallis, who’s just 27, will be in the conversation for defensive coordinator jobs in the next few years if his group plays up to expectations. But for now, Sirianni is running it back with the same group, and considering the success the Eagles had last year, that looks like a pretty good idea. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/importance-nick-sirianni-keeping-eagles-coaching-staff-together
  13. New roles for Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox? Ranking Eagles most important storylines for OTAs Martin Frank Delaware News Journal It only seems like the Eagles are sipping piña coladas while every other NFL team is busy with three weeks of organized team activities followed by mandatory minicamps. The Eagles and Bengals are the only teams holding two weeks of OTAs and no mandatory minicamp. Teams are allowed a maximum of 10 days of OTAs. The Eagles will have only six. The Eagles will hold their first spring practice Tuesday, with sessions to follow on Thursday and Friday, and three more sessions next week. Then they'll break until training camp begins in late July. BAD TASTE:Eagles new cornerback angry at how Giants treated him; did he sign with Philly for revenge? SUPER OFFSEASON?:Eagles' offseason looks a lot like 2017 – and the Super Bowl similarities are striking. Last year, the Eagles followed a similar pattern. They had two weeks of spring practice, then skipped the mandatory minicamp. So it's possible that some players could skip the entire spring program if they so choose. The reason, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said, is health. "Everything that we do is going to be thought out with the players' health and safety in mind first,” Sirianni said. "That was one thing we felt like we did a good job last year, staying healthy for different reasons. "(Last year), we felt like we were able to get what we needed to get done in those weeks that we had last year." But the OTAs this week and next do serve a purpose for the Eagles leading into their seven-week break until the start of training camp in late July. Here's a look at the four most important things to watch for: 1. Jalen Hurts' growth No, these spring practices won't be a true indication of whether Hurts is worthy of becoming the franchise quarterback beyond this season. But it will be our first look at Hurts since the playoff loss in January. After that game, Hurts was seen in a walking boot. And shortly thereafter, he had surgery. Hurts spent much of the offseason working with coaches in various states around the country, including Tom House in California. The Eagles' intention is to become more of a passing team after switching to primarily a run-based offense midway through the season. The Eagles traded for wide receiver A.J. Brown to help accomplish that goal. But Hurts must improve on his 61.3% completion percentage from last season, along with his decision-making. In fairness to Hurts, that percentage was better than the 52% from his rookie year, when he replaced Carson Wentz for the final 4½ games of the season. But there's still plenty of room for growth for a QB who'll turn 24 in August. We should start seeing if that offseason work has paid off. 2. Cox, Kelce as mentors Since the workouts are voluntary, it's not known if both defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and center Jason Kelce will be in attendance. But two of the greatest Eagles at their respective positions could be playing their final seasons in Philadelphia. And the Eagles drafted both of their eventual successors by taking defensive tackle Jordan Davis in the first round and center Cam Jurgens in the second. Davis, especially, could be cutting into Cox's playing time this season, thus making Cox's situation particularly intriguing. The Eagles released Cox in March rather than guarantee his $18 million salary for 2022 with more guaranteed years to follow. The Eagles then re-signed Cox a few days later to a one-year deal worth $14 million. Cox, 31, has not met with the media since the season ended. But Cox's play has been declining the last few years. And Davis, who's 6-foot-6, 341 pounds, ran a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash. "He's a big, explosive, violent man that can win one-on-ones," defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said about Davis. As for Kelce, 34, he has contemplated retiring in each of the last four offseasons before returning. Kelce is still a top center in the NFL. But he helped scout Jurgens leading up to the draft and gave him a strong endorsement. So the way Cox and Kelce embrace their mentorship roles could enable their replacements to be ready sooner. That begins in the OTAs. 3. What Brown can do for Eagles In Brown and DeVonta Smith, the Eagles have their best pair of wideouts since the early years of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin a decade ago. While Brown might be new to the Eagles, he's not new to Hurts. The two have been close friends ever since high school, and they often work out together during the offseason. Brown, of course, will prevent opponents from focusing on Smith, who as a rookie set the team receiving record with 916 yards. But Brown's presence will also help Quez Watkins, who had 647 yards receiving last year. "I loved it, honestly," Watkins said about Brown's acquisition. "He’s an extra guy in the room, an extra threat in the room. So for us, it’s just going to be dynamic." But it will take reps for Brown and the other receivers, along with Hurts, to develop chemistry. That begins this week. 4. Safety in numbers? In essence, the Eagles traded cornerback Steven Nelson and safety Rodney McLeod, who both left as free agents, for cornerback James Bradberry and safety Marcus Epps. At cornerback, Bradberry, who was released by the Giants earlier this month, is an upgrade. At safety, Epps doesn't have nearly the experience that McLeod has had. But last season, Epps did work in with McLeod and returning starter Anthony Harris. The problem is there isn't much experience behind Epps and Harris. That means K'Von Wallace, the Eagles' fourth-round pick in 2020, Andre Chacere and Jared Mayden, have to show they can play a role if called upon. The three have a combined four NFL starts. "Everything that I look for in a safety, all those guys in that room have those qualities," Gannon said. Then, more specifically about Epps, Gannon added: "Just like any young player, a guy that hasn't been a full-time starter, it's just consistency. He's played at a high level the times that he's played for us, and you have to be able to do that over the long-haul, snap after snap. "Really excited to see him play this year." https://www.delawareonline.com/story/sports/nfl/eagles/2022/05/31/eagles-storylines-ota-practice-jalen-hurts-new-roles-jason-kelce-fletcher-cox/9927327002/
  14. 10 reasons Eagles' offense will be better in 2022 Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Taking a look back at the Eagles’ offense last year, there was some good, some not so good. The Eagles were 1st in the NFL running the ball, 4th-best on third down, 2nd in scoring after halftime, 5th-best in fewest turnovers, 6th-best protecting the quarterback. Not bad at all. But they were 25th passing the ball, 17th in first-half scoring, 14th in first downs per game and 14th in scoring. Mixed bag. Not bad. But not great. There’s reason to believe that’s about to change. You never know who’s going to pan out, who's going to be disappointing, who’s going to get hurt. But looking at this offense objectively, there’s no reason to think the Eagles won’t be more productive, more efficient and more successful in 2022 than in 2021. Here are 10 reasons why: 1. Nick Sirianni’s second year: Last year was Sirianni’s first as a head coach, as a game plan designer, as a scheme planner and as a play caller. That’s a lot, and you could tell as the year went on he gradually developed a better feel for all those things. The last Eagles head coach whose team won fewer games in Year 2 than Year 1 was Ed Khayat in 1971 and 1972. It’s hard to imagine a year of experience won’t help Sirianni in every key area as an offensive coach. 2. Jalen Hurts: I can’t think of a reason Hurts won’t improve in his second year as a starter. He certainly made huge strides from his four starts under Doug Pederson in 2020 to last year. He’s a diligent worker and is well aware of the flaws in his game. Can you think of the last young Eagles QB who didn’t improve from his first year as a full-time starter to his second? No. Because there’s never been one. Maybe Hurts will be the first. He’s got a lot of work to do. But everything points to a more effective QB in 2022. 3. A.J. Brown: Finally a legit Pro Bowl-caliber wide receiver. Brown gives the Eagles a potentially elite WR1A and WR1B for the first time since DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were both here – and that was a decade ago. If Brown just hits his career averages, that’s 62-for-998 with 8 touchdowns. Only four Eagles WRs have reached those numbers even once in the last 36 years – Irving Fryar, Terrell Owens and Maclin once and Jackson twice. And that’s Brown’s career average. 4. DeVonta Smith: I wrote back in March why Smith should improve dramatically in Year 2, and that was before he had a guy playing across from him who will draw a lot of the coverage that Smith was seeing last year. Expect big things in Year 2 from Smith. 5. Jalen Reagor: Don’t want to pile on here, but the reality is that dramatically reducing – or possibly eliminating – Reagor from the offense will help immeasurably. He played 750 snaps last year! That’s 750 snaps where the offense had one guy who was just not going to make a play. Reagor last year became the 9th NFL wideout in the last 37 years to start at least 13 games and fail to record 300 yards and the 8th WR in the last 50 years with at least 43 touches and 331 or fewer scrimmage yards. Just having him NOT playing is an upgrade. 6. Zach Pascal: Don’t underestimate the value of a decent WR4. When the Eagles went four wides last year it had to be with Smith, Quez Watkins, Reagor and either Greg Ward or J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Now you’re looking at Smith, Brown, Watkins and Pascal. He may not be a star, but Pascal averaged 38 catches for 472 yards and four TDs in four years in Indy and is an outstanding blocker. In other words, the Eagles’ WR4 this year is better than their WR3 last year. 7. Balance: Sirianni knows the Eagles have to be more efficient in the passing game. The Eagles had the fewest passing attempts last year and the 2nd-most rushing attempts (one less than the Titans), and those figures have to be more balanced for the Eagles to keep defenses guessing. You’re not going to beat good teams if they know you only have one way to attack. With the WR additions and the hoped-for improvement from Hurts, the passing game should be more effective, and the offense more balanced and unpredictable. 8. No significant losses: With Jason Kelce’s decision to return for a 12th season, the Eagles have everybody back on offense with the exception of Brandon Brooks, who only played one full game last year; Nate Herbig, a backup guard; and Zach Ertz, who the Eagles traded in October. Literally everybody who contributed on offense for the full season is back in 2022, and that’s rare. That gives this offense a real chance to grow because there’s already a starting point well beyond last year’s. 9. Full year of Dallas Goedert: After the Ertz trade, Goedert’s 614 yards in 10 games were the 4th-most yards of any tight end – nine fewer than Travis Kelce (on 19 fewer targets). If you include the playoffs, Goedert averaged 64.2 yards per game after the Ertz trade – nearly 1,100-yard pace for an entire season. A full season of Goedert as TE1 is going to be huge. 10. Landon Dickerson from the start: As good as the Eagles’ offensive line was last year, don’t forget, Landon Dickerson missed most of training camp, didn’t become a starter until Week 3, didn’t make his way to left guard until Week 4 and struggled his first few games before really coming into his own around mid-season. By the end of the year, Dickerson was playing at a Pro Bowl level, and having Dickerson begin the season presumably at that level will make a big difference. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/10-reasons-nick-siriannis-eagles-offense-will-be-better-2022
  15. In Roob's Observations: Why Dallas Goedert will have a huge season Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Who are the Eagles’ most likely first-time Pro Bowlers in 2022? How good was the Eagles’ 1991 defense? And why was Don Burroughs one of the most underrated Eagles of all time? We have all the answers in this weekend's edition of Roob’s 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations! 1. How good can Dallas Goedert be this year? Off the charts. Here are five reasons why: Reason No. 1: Even though he didn’t become the Eagles’ primary tight end until after the Zach Ertz trade in mid-October, Goedert had the fifth-most yards among all NFL tight ends last year. Goedert’s numbers in 11 games after the trade: 47-for-706 for 15 yards per catch. Project that over a 17-game season and you get 73 catches for 1,091 yards. Reason No. 2: Goedert last year caught 56 passes and turned 42 of them into first downs. He had the 17th-most targets among tight ends last year but the fourth-most 1st-down catches, behind only Mark Andrews, Tracis Kelce and Kyle Pitts, who each had far more targets than Goedert (Andrews 153, Kelce 134, Pitts 110, Goedert 76). His 75 percent 1st-down conversion rate was highest in the league among tight ends. Since 2019, Goedert has the 31st-most targets among tight ends but the sixth-most first downs (103). Reason No. 3: Goedert is the only tight end since the NFL began tracking targets in 1992 with 800 or more yards on 80 or fewer targets. His 10.9 yards per target is third-highest on record by a tight end behind only Antonio Gates in 2010 (12.0) and Ken Dilger in 1995 (11.5). It’s also second-highest in Eagles history (behind DeSean Jackson’s 11.1 in 2010). That’s crazy production on limited targets. If he just goes from 17th in targets to 10th, and all his other numbers stay the same, he’s a 1,000-yard receiver. Reason No. 4: How about Goedert’s 14.8 yards per catch last year? Only eight other tight ends in the last 50 years have averaged 14.8 yards per catch in a full season (with a minimum of 55 catches). Goedert was 14th in catches among TEs last year. With just one more catch per game at 14.8 yards per catch, he’s over 1,100 yards. Reason No. 5: The Eagles did draft a tight end in the sixth round and they're hopeful Grant Calcaterra can contribute, but you can’t rely on any rookie sixth-round pick. The returning tight ends are Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson, who caught a combined seven passes last year. Stoll is a very good blocker and will play a lot, but there is no other proven receiving tight end on the roster. Just about all the TE targets will go in Goedert’s direction. 2. Five most-likely first-time Eagles Pro Bowlers in 2022: 1) Jordan Mailata, 2) Dallas Goedert, 3) Landon Dickerson, 4) Haason Reddick, 5) Jalen Hurts. 3. Only three QBs in Eagles history have won playoff games in consecutive seasons – Jaws in 1979 and 1980, Donovan McNabb from 2000 through 2004 and Nick Foles in 2017 and 2018. 4. Carson Wentz has had three seasons with 25 or more touchdowns and seven or fewer interceptions. In NFL history, only Aaron Rodgers has had more. Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Tom Brady have also had three. 5. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Hurts’ 87.2 passer rating is highest ever by an Eagles quarterback before his 24th birthday. The previous high was Nick Foles’ 79.1 rating when he was 23 in 2012. 6. How good was the 1991 Eagles defense? That Eagles team allowed an average of just 221.8 yards per game, lowest ever in a 16-game season and lowest by any team in any season since the 1974 Steelers allowed 219.6 in a 14-game season and won the Super Bowl. Bud Carson was defensive coordinator of both teams. 7. Only four NFL players in the last 50 years have had seven interceptions in three straight seasons, and one of them was an Eagle – Don Burroughs had nine in the 1960 NFL Championship season and seven in 1961 and 1962. Burroughs, who was undrafted out of Colorado A&M (now Colorado State), had two other seasons with seven INTs with the Rams, and he’s one of only six players with five career seven-INT seasons. The only player with more is Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell. Burroughs was nicknamed "The Blade” by Norm Van Brocklin when they were teammates with the Rams, and after Van Brocklin was traded to the Eagles, he asked management to try to acquire Burroughs as well, and they did. Burroughs’ 50 career INTs are ninth-most ever by an undrafted player and second-most ever by a player who was never picked to a Pro Bowl team. Even though Burroughs only spent five years with the Eagles, he’s sixth all-time with 29 INTs — behind only Brian Dawkins, Eric Allen, Bill Bradley, Herm Edwards and Wes Hopkins. Of that group, only Burroughs played for a championship team. Gotta make room made for Burroughs in the Eagles Hall of Fame. 8. There are 13 players in Eagles history who have played in at least 12 playoff games. All 13 were on the 2003 team (David Akers, Brian Dawkins, Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas, Donovan McNabb, Koy Detmer, Sheldon Brown, Quintin Mikell, Mike Bartrum, Todd Pinkston, Corey Simon, Bobby Taylor, Darwin Walker). 9. One of the most improbable performances in Eagles history was turned in by running back Robert Drummond vs. the Chargers in San Diego in 1989. Drummond rushed 14 times for 77 yards and caught five passes for 74 yards. Drummond never had more than 29 rushing yards in any other game in his NFL career and never had more than 41 receiving yards in any other game in his NFL career. His 151 scrimmage yards that day were more than twice as many yards as he had in any other game. In fact, he only had more than 35 scrimmage yards in one other game – he had 68 against the Cards later in the 1989 season. Drummond only played in 36 games in his three-year career, and those 151 yards vs. the Chargers accounted for 37 percent of his career total. The only other Eagles rookie in the last 50 years with 70 yards both rushing and receiving in a game was Miles Sanders vs. the Cowboys in 2019 (77 rushing, 79 receiving). 10. The Eagles finished last year ranked 14th in the NFL in yards gained and 10th in yards allowed. It was the first time in franchise history they were in the top half of the league in both categories in their first year under a new head coach. The closest they ever came previously was in 1952, when they were eighth in offense and second in defense under Jim Trimble in a 12-team league. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/dallas-goedert-eagles-jalen-hurts-carson-wentz-don-burroughs-nfl
  16. Bradberry's expectations of playing with Slay Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER For much of the offseason, James Bradberry was in limbo. He was a New York Giant but not really. He was on the roster, but he knew the Giants were trying to trade him. "I was very anxious because I didn’t know what decision was going to be made,” he said Tuesday. "A lot of anxiety during that period, but I knew just being patient and waiting and eventually things were going to shake out and I was going to be in the right place.” The longer the Giants held onto Bradberry, the more difficult it became for him to find a fair contract. Because by the time he was released on May 9, free agency was two months old, all the top corners had found new homes and his options weren’t the same as they would have been if he hit the market with everybody else. "First of all, I understand that it’s a business so I was putting my business cap on first and understanding that I’m an asset so I understand that they want something for me, so that was part of the game,” he said. "Personally, didn’t necessarily like it, but it’s a business at the end of the day and I understand that.” After a short flirtation with free agency, Bradberry signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract with the Eagles last week. He said Tuesday he’s looking forward to playing in front of Eagles fans as a home player and said he likes the defense Jonathan Gannon plays. But a big part of the appeal was playing alongside four-time Pro Bowler Darius Slay. "I’ve been watching him since I’ve been in the league and I admire his game a lot and I feel like it’ll be a great opportunity to learn from him but also play alongside him because he’s a great corner,” he said. "Potential only gets you so far, so I don’t want to speak on potential. I know individually we’re pretty good. The goal is to be great together.” Bradberry is the Eagles’ fifth significant addition on defense, following free agents Haason Reddick and Kyzir White and draft picks Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. "I think he's a really good addition for us,” Gannon said. "He’s a very versatile player. Smart, tough, physical, can get the ball, can cover. "Anytime you have that type of skill set with your outside corners, it's a good asset to have. He allows us to play certain things predicated on what we're trying to stop that week, as Slay does, as all those guys do. "That's why you look for complete players. Can they play off? Can they press? Can they play with vision? Can they play with man eyes? "He does all that, and really with that type of player, it gives you flexibility with some of the coverages that you can play, which I like.” Bradberry said he likes the way Gannon mixes up zone and man coverages, which plays to his strength. "I like to play this defense,” he said. "It offers a multiple look, play zone and man and I think I make a lot of plays in both, so that’s the reason I like the scheme. "I feel like I’m a smart player and I feel like I can read concepts so that’s what helps me out in zone coverages.” Bradberry has played at the Linc three times — with the Panthers in 2018 and with the Giants in 2020 and 2021. It was always in the back of his mind that this was a place he wouldn’t mind being. "The team that they were building here and also getting an opportunity to play in front of these fans,” he said. "I played in front of these fans a few times when I was in Carolina and also in New York and they’re a pretty rowdy bunch so I thought that would be pretty fun.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-corner-james-bradberry-embracing-opportunity-play-darius-slay
  17. Ranking the top 10 cornerback duos in Eagles history Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER On paper, it sure looks like the Eagles have one of the most dynamic cornerback tandems in franchise history. James Bradberry has 15 interceptions since he was drafted in the second round by the Panthers in 2016, and Darius Slay has 23 INTs since 2014, his first year as a starter with the Lions. Bradberry made his first Pro Bowl in 2020, Slay made his fourth Pro Bowl last season. Over the past six years, they’re the only NFL cornerbacks with 15 or more INTs and 80 or more pass breakups. They still have to go out there and perform. We’ve all seen seeming sure things that turned into disaster. And it can be ugly. Especially at corner. But if Bradberry and Slay play up to expectations, the Eagles will have one of their best cornerback duos ever. How good? We’ll answer that in January. But for now, let’s take a look at the top 10 Eagles cornerback duos throughout history. 1. Bobby Taylor / Troy Vincent [1996-2002] The Eagles drafted Taylor in the second round in 1995 and signed Vincent a year later, creating one of the NFL’s top cornerback tandems. From 1996 through 2003, they manned the Eagles’ deep secondary alongside Hall of Fam safety Brian Dawkins. During that eight-year period, Vincent went to five Pro Bowls and Taylor one, and the Eagles reached the playoffs five times, had the No. 4 pass defense in the NFL and allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns. 2. Lito Sheppard / Sheldon Brown [2002-2007] Taylor and Vincent were still going strong when the Eagles drafted Sheppard and Brown in 2002. Sheppard became a starter in 2003 and Brown in 2004, and from 2004 through 2008 they were as good a combo as there was in the NFL. They combined for 37 interceptions and six pick-6’s during a period the Eagles went to two NFC Championship Games and had the NFL’s 4th-best pass defense. 3. Eric Allen / Ben Smith [1990-1991, 1993] If Smith hadn’t torn his knee up in Cleveland late in the 1991 season Allen and Smith might have been the best Eagles cornerback duo ever. Smith, the Eagles’ 1st-round pick in 1990, was a budding star his first year and a half before tearing up his knee in the same game he ended Bernie Kosar’s NFL-record streak of passes without an interception. Smith was never the same, although he did play another four years, mainly at safety. But for the 1990 playoff season and much of the record-setting 1991 season, Allen and Smith were as good as anybody. 4. Herm Edwards / Roynell Young [1980-1985] Edwards had 33 career interceptions, 8th-most in NFL history by a corner who never made a Pro Bowl. He was just a very consistent and steady player, and starting in his fourth season he was matched up with Young, the Eagles’ 1st-round pick in 1980, a starter from Day 1 and a Pro Bowler by Year 2. For six years, including the 1980 Super Bowl season, they gave the Eagles outstanding cornerback play spanning the Dick Vermeil and Marion Campbell eras. 5. Tom Brookshier / Jimmy Carr [1959-1961] Brooksheir spent his entire seven-year career with the Eagles and Carr was here for five years, but they only overlapped for three years — the last three years of Brookshier’s career. During this span, Brookie made two Pro Bowls and had six interceptions and Carr had nine interceptions, and the Eagles won an NFL-high 27 games and won their third NFL Championship. 6. Sheldon Brown / Asante Samuel [2008-2009] For one year, the Eagles had Sheppard, Brown and Samuel, and for two years Brown and Samuel were the starters. Talk about two dynamic corners. In two years playing alongside Brown, Samuel had 13 interceptions and made two Pro Bowls and Brown had six INTs and should have made a Pro Bowl. In 2009, Samuel had nine INTs and Brown had five, the only time in franchise history both Eagles corners had at least five INTs. The Eagles made the playoffs both years they played together, had the 5th-ranked pass defense in the league over those two seasons and reached the NFC Championship Game in 2008. 7. Eric Allen / Mark McMillian [1992-1994] After Ben Smith’s injury, McMillian held down CB2 across from Allen for the next few years. The 5-foot-7, 154-pound McMillian — originally a 10th-round pick — had eight INTs in four years with the Eagles and 23 in his career, including eight with three pick-6’s with the Chiefs in 1997. During their three years together, Allen had 13 INTs, four pick-6’s and made the Pro Bowl each year. 8. Jalen Mills / Ronald Darby [2017-2019] They only started 25 games together over three years, but you have to include Mills and Darby for what they did down the stretch and in the postseason in 2017. They’re the only cornerbacks in Eagles history to win a Super Bowl as starters, and as inconsistent as both may have been the rest of their career, they both played terrific football during the Super Bowl season and the playoffs. 9. Irv Cross / Ben Scotti [1962-1963] Another duo that only got two years together, but Cross and Scotti were a solid tandem during a couple lean years during the Nick Skorich era. Cross only spent five years with the Eagles but had 15 INTs and Scotti, a Newark, N.J., native, who went undrafted out of Maryland, was only here two years but had five INTs. In their two years together, Cross had seven INTs and Scotti had five. 10. Joe Lavender / John Outlaw [1973-1975] Outlaw spent his last six years with the Eagles after starting his career with the Patriots, and had 13 interceptions from 1973 through 1977. During his three years playing alongside Lavender, he had nine INTs, and Lavender had four before moving on to Washington, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler. Really good corners on really bad teams. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/where-will-darius-slay-and-james-bradberry-rank-among-eagles-cb-duos
  18. The one thing Gannon demands more than anything Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Jonathan Gannon on James Bradberry: "He’s a very versatile player.” Gannon on Nakobe Dean: "Nakobe is a high, high football character (guy), highly intelligent, versatile, production was obviously through the roof.” Gannon on Jordan Davis: "Jordan, high football character, versatile, tough, big, strong, violent, can play a bunch of different spots for us, can affect the game in a positive way.” Gannon on Haason Reddick: "Very, very smart, very intelligent, high football character, very good skill set, versatile player, and it's our job to deploy him and to affect the game, to accentuate his skill set.” We didn’t have a chance to ask Gannon about Kyzir White on Tuesday, but if we did, safe bet he would have mentioned his versatility. Last year, Gannon essentially ran a defense with what he had. This year, it’s all about what Gannon wanted. And that means the Eagles have stocked the defense not only with talented players like Bradberry, Dean, Davis, Reddick and White, but also with guys who can do a lot of things well, who can line up in a variety of places, who can flourish in different schemes and different formations. It’s all about trying to create a defense that’s pliable and adaptable, a unit with lots of moving pieces, a group that can line up however it makes sense considering the opponent, the situation and the personnel it's facing. One thing that made Bradberry such an attractive piece for the Eagles was his ability to make plays both in zone and man. Reddick has the ability to line up in a 3-4 as a SAM linebacker or in a 4-3 as a defensive end. Davis can be a 0-tech in a 3-4 — a true nose tackle — or a 3 tech in a 4-3. Dean has the athleticism to play weak-side linebacker but should be able to also handle the modern middle linebacker spot with his physicality and explosion. And it’s not just the newcomers. Milton Williams can line up inside or outside. Avonte Maddox can play in the slot or safety. Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox can move around on the line. Gannon will only have 22 or 23 players in uniform each game, and the more each of those guys can do, the more he can do as a coach. You want him to be more aggressive? He should have players this year that will let him. "We're always looking to add really good football players that are versatile, and there are a lot of reasons behind that, one being scheme,” he said Tuesday. "One being it's a match-up driven league, so we're looking to accentuate some of our matchups.” If these guys are what the Eagles think they are, you’ll see what seems like almost an infinite number of combinations on game day. One snap, you might see Edwards at Mike and Dean at Will. On the next snap, you might see Dean at Mike and White at Will. And then on 3rd-and-long it might just be Dean. Same with the d-line. They could line up with Reddick, Davis and Josh Sweat in an odd front and then on the next snap with Brandon Graham, Cox, Hargrave and Sweat in an even front. And that’s why other than "versatile,” the adjective you hear Gannon say the most is "smart.” Because to swing around to different positions and also mesh with other guys swinging to different positions, you have to have incredible recall and intelligence or it doesn’t work. "On game day, there are so many jerseys, and you like guys to be able to do a couple different things,” Gannon said. "Then it's our job to kind of piece it together over these next four or five weeks, six weeks, and then we get into training camp, hit the ground running, and put them in the right position to be successful.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/jonathan-gannon-eagles-defense-james-bradberry-nakobe-dean-haason-reddick
  19. After rebuilding roster, Roseman faces an even bigger challenge Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Howie Roseman nailed the offseason. Even Roseman’s biggest critic would have to admit he did a terrific job rebuilding the Eagles’ roster through free agency, trades and the draft. Now he’s got another rebuilding project on his hands, one that may be even more important and more challenging. Because now he’s got a front office to rebuild. The entire top of the Eagles’ scouting department organizational chart has bolted for promotions around the league, leaving Roseman scrambling to pick up the pieces. No question Roseman is on a roll when it comes to identifying talent, mastering the cap, managing the draft and building competitive rosters. Over the last five years, the Eagles have reached the playoffs four times - only the Chiefs have done it more – and won a Super Bowl. But as much as Roseman has grown as a general manager, it hasn’t happened in a vacuum. He’s hired some very sharp people who’ve played key roles helping build a franchise that’s competitive just about every year. The problem with hiring sharp people is that they’re hard to keep, and the nature of the scouting business is that almost everybody with a title below general manager is trying to climb the ladder toward a GM position. And the Eagles’ GM chair presumably won’t be available for a long, long time. So if you’re a successful scouting exec with the Eagles, you’re almost invariably looking elsewhere. Which is exactly what’s happened. The Eagles’ front office renaissance began when Roseman hired Joe Douglas as vice president of player personnel in 2016, and the exodus began when Douglas left to become GM of the Jets in 2019. Andrew Berry came aboard in 2019 as VP of football operations and he lasted a year before becoming Browns GM. Brandon Brown and Ian Cunningham both arrived in 2017, both got two promotions and both left this offseason to become assistant GMs, Brown with the Giants and Cunningham with the Bears. Berry hired Eagles VP of football operations Catherine Raîche as assistant GM, and then we learned Tuesday that the Steelers plan to add Eagles VP of player personnel Andy Weidl – Roseman’s top aide – as an assistant GM. Starting with Douglas in 2019, that’s six major losses, four just in the past few months. And that doesn’t include 75-year-old Tom Donahoe, who is presumably retiring after a 38-year NFL career. The challenge Roseman faces now is not only identifying rising young talented personnel executives but figuring out how to keep them. He’s essentially a personnel guy for personnel guys. It’s clear from the recent front office losses that Roseman’s recent front office hiring record has been exceptional. I hate to use the phrase "GM Factory,” but it really does apply. So much goes into filling these positions. You have to find lower-level scouts who have a verifiable track record and are looking to move. And they have to be a good cultural fit, willing to put their egos aside and work for the common good. That’s the easy part. Then you have to figure out how to keep them. One reason teams are starting to use the assistant GM title instead of director of this or vice president of that is because the way the NFL is structured it’s harder for teams to poach anybody with "GM” in their title than those who don’t have it. So if you call your top five personnel execs "assistant GMs” you have a better chance of retaining talent. They can only leave when their contract expires or for a promotion to general manager. The Eagles appear to have a competitive roster, but we all know that to enjoy sustained success you have to constantly replenish talent. Every year. Without a front office stocked with talented scouts, personnel directors and talent evaluators all working together with the GM, that won’t happen. All we know so far is that the Eagles have hired former Browns scout Charles Walls as director of player personnel, they’re expected to promote Jon Ferrari to an assistant GM position and they interviewed Steelers pro scouting director Brandon Hunt. We’ll hear more names over the coming weeks, but it will take years before we know if Roseman hired the right guys. There’s no training camp for scouts. You can’t watch them in joint practices and determine if they’re any good. You have to wait and see what direction the franchise takes over a period of years. The Eagles still have some good people in place. Senior director of college scouting Anthony Patch has been here since 2002, director of college scouting Alan Wolking since 2011, and former Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell is still here, too. But this is a major overhaul Roseman is facing. And he’s got to replenish the talent level in the front office as deftly as he replenished the talent level in the locker room. Because without the former, you’re not going to have the latter. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/after-rebuilding-eagles-roster-gm-howie-roseman-faces-bigger-challenge
  20. Should we be comparing Eagles' 2022 offseason to the Dream Team? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER I keep hearing about the Dream Team. I keep seeing the Eagles’ 2022 offseason acquisitions compared to the disastrous 2011 collection of big-money mismatched parts that Vince Young hilariously dubbed "The Dream Team” at Lehigh nearly 11 years ago. As far as unfortunate Eagles quotes go, Young’s, "Awww, Dream Team!” is right up there with "For Who, for What” and "I had to pick out sconces.” Who were the key figures on the Dream Team? Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Cullen Jenkins, Donald Lee, Steve Smith, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Evan Mathis. Let’s talk about that group. Asomugha was coming off three straight Pro Bowls, but he was 30 and had lost a step. Or six. Babin was 31 and changing teams for the fifth time in six years. Brown was 30 and coming off the worst season of his career. Jenkins was 30 and had played seven seasons in Green Bay without making a Pro Bowl. Lee was 30 and his numbers had dropped for four straight years. Smith was only 25 but out of four years with the Giants had only one good season. DRC was also only 25 and coming off three very good seasons with the Cards, and the real value in that move was it enabled the Eagles to unload Kevin Kolb. And DRC actually wasn't bad his two years here. And then there was the 31-year-old Mathis, who really wasn’t part of the Dream Team because he didn’t cost anything, and he hadn’t even been a full-time starter in five years. Of course he’s the one guy in the group who became a stud for the Eagles – an all-pro and a two-time Pro Bowler. But really, just about all these guys came with a red flag. Either declining production, old and losing a step, no record of consistency over a number of years or already showing clear signs of their age before they got here. Contrast that with this group. A.J. Brown has been very productive and consistent all three of his NFL seasons. Haason Reddick has put together back-to-back double-digit sack seasons. Kyzir White has gotten better each year he’s been in the league. James Bradberry is one of only two corners in the NFL with at least 15 interceptions and 80 pass deflections over the last six years. And Jordan Davis, Cam Jurgens and Nakobe Dean are promising rookies who are just getting started. Davis and Jurgens are 22, Dean is 21. No comparison. None. The Dream Team included six guys already in their 30s. The oldest guy in this group is Bradberry, who’s 28 and only signed for one year. That 2011 collection of players had one other very important thing working against it. The lockout. Remember, there was no free agency in the spring of 2011. Players weren’t allowed to change teams during the lockout, and the Eagles’ signing spree didn’t start until July 28, when they acquired Rodgers-Cromartie. A day later they signed Asomugha, Babin, Lee and Young, and the next day they added Jenkins. Brown followed two days later and Smith a week after that. None of those guys had OTAs or minicamps. None had a summer to learn the offense or defense and get to know their teammates and coaches. Heck, none even had a complete training camp, since camp began a few days before any of the moves. Sign a bunch of aging, fading veterans, don’t give them an offseason, then start playing regular-season games 39 days after they arrive here? In retrospect, nobody should have been surprised it was a disaster. Now, the likelihood is that not all of the Eagles’ 2022 offseason acquisitions will pan out. Maybe one of the veterans will be a big-money disappointment. Maybe one of the draft picks won’t adjust to the NFL game. That’s just the reality of the NFL, and that’s the nature of building a team. You’re not going to hit on everybody. Nobody does. But the process was sound. The logic behind each of these moves really seems to make sense. The red flags we saw 11 years ago just aren’t there this time around. This is no Dream Team. It’s just a collection of good football players who should help make the Eagles a better team. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-nfl-offseason-2022-aj-brown-james-bradberry-eagles-dream-team-2011
  21. In Roob's Observations: Why the Eagles are right to believe in Epps Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Why the Eagles probably won’t spend on a big-money safety, expectations of Jonathan Gannon in 2022 and a crazy Boston Scott stat highlight this weekend’s Roob’s 10 random Eagles offseason observations. There may even be a few thoughts on everybody’s favorite topics: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and Jalen Hurts. 1. I know everybody’s clamoring for the Eagles to acquire a big-time safety next, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. The Eagles really seem to like Marcus Epps, and I can kind of see why. Epps was not bad last year. He’s tough and physical, smart and instinctive, solid tackler, decent in coverage, around the ball. The only real issue is that he’s never been a full-time player. He averaged 32 snaps per game last year and ranked 18th of all qualifying safeties by Pro Football Focus — far higher than either Rodney McLeod (43rd) or Anthony Harris (53rd). He only averaged 11 fewer snaps per game than McLeod, and all you’re asking is that he increases from 32 snaps per game to maybe 50-ish. Maybe the Eagles could trade some picks for a veteran safety and give him a huge contract, but Epps is already under contract with a modest $965,000 cap hit and has a chance to be pretty good. If I’m calling the shots, I’m saving the picks and giving Epps a shot at this. 2. For those who doubt Gannon will be a more aggressive coach in Year 2, consider this: Since the end of last year, the Eagles added James Bradberry, Kyzir White, Nakobe Dean, Jordan Davis and Haason Reddick (and Brandon Graham) on defense and subtracted Alex Singleton, McLeod, Steve Nelson, Genard Avery, Hassan Ridgeway and Ryan Kerrigan. Why on Earth wouldn't he coach more aggressively? Of course he will. He has players now. 3. If I’m ranking all the NFC teams, I’m not sure I’d put anybody other than the Rams, Packers, Buccaneers and 49ers ahead of the Eagles. I feel like the Eagles have bypassed the Cowboys, although it’s close, and considering the Eagles’ offseason, I’d put them ahead of the Cards — who won’t have DeAndre Hopkins until Week 7 — and the Vikings — who are starting over with a new coach. Who else is there? The Saints? The Seahawks? The Commanders? Nah. The Eagles were a playoff team last year and they should be significantly better this year. 4. Hurts Stat of the Week: In the last 20 years, there have been only four quarterbacks who’ve averaged at least 12.3 yards per completion in their first two seasons and also averaged less than one interception every 45 pass attempts: Michael Vick, Marcus Mariota, Patrick Mahomes, Foles and Hurts. 5. When I wrote last week suggesting that fans shouldn’t boo Carson Wentz when he returns to the Linc, it sparked the usual lively (and occasionally ugly) Foles vs. Wentz debate with the usual questions: Would the Eagles have won a Super Bowl if Wentz didn’t get hurt and played the entire postseason and would the Eagles have won the Super Bowl if Foles started the entire year. My answer to both questions is no. Wentz has three career postseason passing yards in six seasons, so even as well as he was playing in 2017 to think he would have gone out and beaten the Falcons, Vikings and Patriots, I’m not buying it. And Foles has never won more than eight games in a season and has never started more than 11. So to think he would have gone 13-3 and earned the Eagles No. 1 seed, I’m not buying that, either. But really, that’s part of what makes 2017 so special. The Eagles did it as a team. They did it as a group. They did it together. With that team, the whole was definitely greater than the sum of the parts. Especially at quarterback. The 2017 Eagles didn’t have a Hall of Fame quarterback. They didn’t have Tom Brady or Drew Brees or Mahomes. They had two flawed quarterbacks who combined for one historic season of near perfection. So why not retire the whole Foles vs. Wentz debate and just appreciate what they did together. Wentz started it, Foles finished it, and none of us will ever forget it. 6A. The Eagles have lost 16 playoff games in the last 30 years and 12 of those losses have been to Hall of Fame quarterbacks (current or future). That’s three to Brees, two to Brady, Kurt Warner and Troy Aikman and one apiece to Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. The only non-Hall of Famers to beat the Eagles in the postseason over the last 30 years are Kerry Collins in 2000, Brad Johnson in 2002, Jake Delhomme in 2003 and Tony Romo in 2009. 6B. Interesting that the Eagles only lost one postseason game in their first 48 years of existence — the 1947 NFL Championship Game against the Cards in Chicago. And they never lost a home playoff game until 1981. It helped that they only played two of them from 1933 through 1978. 7. Going to be a big summer for two 2020 draft picks – 3rd-round pick Davion Taylor and 4th-round pick K’Von Wallace. Both are really in the same position. Taylor has started seven games in two years, Wallace six games. They’ve both shown some flashes, but neither has been able to stay healthy, neither has managed to play consistently and neither has a job locked up in 2022. That linebacker spot in particular is getting awfully crowded. Taylor and Wallace have both had their moments, but in Year 3 as mid-round picks nothing is guaranteed. They’ve got to show up in training camp to find their way onto the 53. 8. Scott’s 34-yard rushing TD in the playoff game against the Bucs is the longest TD run in NFL postseason history by a running back with one carry. And it’s actually twice as long as the second-longest — a 17-yard TD by former Eagle Leonard Weaver while he was with the Seahawks on his only carry in a win over Washington in 2008. 9. Maybe the Eagles will keep Isaac Seumalo this year, but you can make a pretty good case for releasing him. Seumalo is a decent guard but he’s going into Year 7 and has only been a full-time starter once, in 2019, and he’s missed most of the last two years with injuries. And he’s already lost his left guard job to Landon Dickerson. And he’s carrying an ungainly $7.668 million cap figure. And the Eagles can save about $1.2 million in cap space by cutting him (or cut the dead money to $2 million in 2022 and $3.8 million in 2023 by making him a post-June 1 cut). And you have guys like Jack Driscoll and Sua Opeta who can play right guard, who are just as good. Why would you keep him? 10. Was Doug Pederson’s 84-yard touchdown pass to Torrance Small against the Giants at the Vet in 1999 the most unlikely 84-yard TD pass in NFL history? It was the longest pass of Pederson’s career and the longest catch of Small’s career. One of the worst quarterbacks in Eagles history chucking it to one of the worst receivers in Eagles history. Not surprisingly, the Eagles lost (on Michael Strahan's 44-yard overtime pick-6 vs. Pederson). https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-observations-why-team-right-believe-safety-marcus-epps
  22. Eagles legend Foles may have found a new home Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER It makes too much sense to not happen. A Nick Foles-Frank Reich reunion appears close, according to Colts beat writer Zak Keefer of The Athletic. "Colts are working to add veteran QB Nick Foles, sources said,” Keefer tweeted. "Nothing done yet, but there’s a chance it comes by next week.” Foles has been an unrestricted free agent since he was released earlier this month after the Bears were unable to trade him. Foles and Reich were together in 2017 and 2018, when Foles was backing up Carson Wentz and Reich was Doug Pederson’s offensive coordinator. Both those years ended with Wentz getting hurt and Foles taking over, winning the Super Bowl in 2017 and a road playoff game in Chicago in 2018. It's impossible to ignore the irony that Foles is joining the team that traded Wentz two months ago. The Colts replaced Wentz with veteran Matt Ryan, who Foles will presumably back up. Ryan, 37 and a graduate of Penn Charter, has only missed three games in his 14-year career and only one since 2010. He ranks 8th in NFL history in career passing yards. If Foles does indeed sign with the Colts, they will become his sixth team in the last eight seasons. Over the last six seasons, Foles has won a total of 10 regular-season games ... and a Super Bowl. In his career, he’s 21-11 with a 93.2 passer rating in an Eagles uniform and 8-16 with a 79.0 passer rating with the Chiefs, Rams, Jaguars and Bears. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/former-eagles-super-bowl-mvp-nick-foles-close-deal-colts
  23. Bradberry explains why he chose the Eagles Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER There were a lot of teams interested in James Bradberry. And why wouldn’t they be? Not a lot of Pro Bowl cornerbacks pop up on the free agency market in the middle of May. Why did he pick the Eagles out of the pack? All it took was one look at the roster. Mainly the defensive line. "I saw the guys on the d-line and as a DB, sometimes your best friend is the d-line,” he said. "So I’m looking forward to it.” Bradberry, who signed a one-year contract with the Eagles earlier Wednesday, spoke to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark at Philadelphia International Airport Wednesday evening after arriving in town. He said scheme fit was also important in looking for a new home after spending four years playing for Ron Rivera with the Panthers and the last two playing for the Giants. "I think the overall scheme, it fit my abilities the best,” he said. Bradberry and Darius Slay give the Eagles a legit set of corners for the first time in a while. Bradberry made the Pro Bowl in 2020, Slay in 2021, and over the last six years, Slay has 19 interceptions and 84 pass deflections, and Bradberry has 15 interceptions and 82 pass deflections. They’re the only players in the NFL with 15 or more INTs and 80 or more passes defended since 2016. "I’m just interested in meeting him, but I know he’s a great player and I’m excited playing next to him,” Bradberry said. "I know he’s got great ability and I feel like we’re going to compliment each other well.” The Eagles face the Giants at the Meadowlands on Dec. 11 and the Linc on the last day of the regular season, Jan. 8, and those games will certainly be fun for Bradberry. But after two years with the Giants, he has a nice head start on all six NFC games the Eagles play. "I’m familiar with it,” he said. "And I’m definitely looking forward to it.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/james-bradberry-explains-why-he-chose-eagles
  24. Much-maligned Roseman absolutely crushed the offseason Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles made the playoffs with a rookie head coach and a first-time starting quarterback after a 2-5 start. Impressive stuff. And it would have been easy for Howie Roseman to sit back and make a couple tweaks here and there and just assume that a year of improvement and a second season in the program would magically transform the Eagles into a Super Bowl contender. And there have been years that’s been the plan. And it never works. Maybe it was his own personal growth as a general manager. Maybe it was the wisdom of the people around him. Maybe it was just the realization that what the Eagles have done in the four years since the Super Bowl hasn’t been enough. So it was awfully encouraging when Roseman stood at a podium three days after the ugly Tampa playoff loss and made it clear that just getting into the postseason wasn’t good enough. There’s a higher standard around here, and getting blown out in a road wild-card game isn’t it. "We are not happy about the fact that our season ended in the playoffs,” Roseman said that day. "We want to build a team that has home playoff games, gets to play in front of our fan base and really build a team that gets a bye. "Until you're really talking about a team that is … getting the one and two seed, you're in building mode. I think that's where we are right now.” And so Howie built. Wow, did he build. The Eagles went into the offseason without a ton of cap space and with some very serious needs, and here we are with what's truly a brand-new roster, some elite veteran talent, a few intriguing rookies and a healthy dose of hope for the future. They had to get drastically better at wide receiver, and here’s A.J. Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020 who’s averaged 62 catches, 998 yards and eight touchdowns as a pro. Not to mention Zach Pascal, who’s averaged 41-540-4 the last three years. Pair them up with DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, and that’s a legit wide receiving corps. They had to get drastically better rushing the quarterback, and here’s Haason Reddick, whose 23½ sacks the last two years are 5th-most in the league. They had to remake the linebacker corps and all of a sudden here’s Kyzir White, a solid starter with the Chargers, and Nakobe Dean, the steal of the draft. They’ll eventually need the successors to Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce, two all-time Eagles, and, hey, was that Jordan Davis and Cam Jurgens walking through the front door of the NovaCare Complex? So we’re all sitting here catching our breath after the draft feeling good about the offseason but wondering if the plan is really to let Zech McPhearson, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, Mario Goodrich and all the other untested kids battle out for CB2 opposite Darius Slay and … Howie strikes again. James Bradberry may not be a superstar, but he’s been a solid corner for six years, he’s made a Pro Bowl, and — get this — his 10 interceptions over the last three years is twice as many as any Eagle has during that span. And the thing is with Slay handling an opposing team’s top receiver, Bradberry will have some terrific matchups against No. 2 wideouts and a lot of balls thrown his way. It’s hard not to think of the Dream Team, but the thing about Reddick, Bradberry and Brown is that unlike Steve Smith, Ronnie Brown, Jason Babin and that whole group, they all have a record of consistent production and they’re all in their prime — Brown is 24, Reddick 27, Bradberry 28. Maybe not all these moves will work out, but Howie did exactly what he promised. He remade this roster. He remade this team. When free agency began, he pounced on Reddick. When the draft unfolded, he pounced on Davis, Jurgens and Dean. When a big-time receiver became available, he pounced on Brown. When the Giants cut Bradberry, he pounced on him. There’s still four months until opening day, and so much still depends on how much Jalen Hurts improves, but this is clearly a significantly better team than it was when last season ended. Roseman was creative and aggressive and effective. He crushed it. And if the Eagles’ biggest worry going into 2022 is whether Marcus Epps can handle a full-time workload at safety, you know what? That’s a pretty good place to be. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/much-maligned-eagles-gm-howie-roseman-absolutely-crushed-offseason
  25. Ranking Roseman’s top 10 offseason moves Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER It’s been quite an offseason for the Eagles. They said good-bye to Rodney McLeod, Steve Nelson, Alex Singleton, Genard Avery, Nate Herbig, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Brooks and Hassan Ridgeway, who started a combined 60 games last year. That was a clear acknowledgement that even though they reached the playoffs in 2021, the Eagles understood a lot of work still had to be done. They had to get better at linebacker. They had to get better at wide receiver. They had to get better rushing the passer. They had to get better in the secondary. They haven’t addressed everything – it’s hard to do that – but as we sit here in mid-May, with the start of the 2022 season now a few days closer than the end of the 2021 season, this appears to be a much-improved football team, and we thought it would be fun to rank Howie Roseman’s 10-best offseason moves. 1. Trading for A.J. Brown, April 28: I was torn between the Brown and Haason Reddick moves for the top spot. They were both positions the Eagles absolutely had to upgrade, and they added top talent at both spots. But the need was even more desperate at wide receiver, and the Eagles got a Pro Bowler who’s only 24, they have him under contract through 2026, and he instantly turns this into a very good receiving corps with Brown and DeVonta Smith at WR1A and WR1B, Quez Watkins at WR3 and Zach Pascal at WR4. The Eagles have brought in a bunch of former Pro Bowl WRs over the years but always long after their prime (Golden Tate, Mike Wallace, Miles Austin, Steve Smith). Brown is the real deal. 2. Signing Haason Reddick, March 16: Another signing the Eagles pretty much had to make after recording a pathetic 29 sacks last year. Reddick has the 5th-most sacks in the NFL over the last two seasons (23 ½), and the Eagles haven’t had an outside rusher with double-digit sacks since Connor Barwin in 2014. The secondary wasn’t very good last year, but with a better pass rush the defensive backs will at least have a fighting chance this year, and Reddick along with Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham and, who knows, maybe even Derrick Barnett - along with whatever they get from their inside rushers and linebackers – should be an improvement. 3. Drafting Nakobe Dean, April 29: As Dave Zangaro wrote, the Eagles still haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round, but they finally drafted a 1st-round linebacker. The Eagles snagged Dean in the third round, somehow getting a 1st-round caliber player with the 83rd pick when questions about his health and probably his size (6-0, 225) caused him to plummet through the first few rounds. But Dean is an elite playmaker at a position where the Eagles haven’t had one in years. He might have been a risk in the first round but in the third round he’s a steal. 4. Signing Kyzir White, March 26: A really underrated move. It’s only a one-year deal so his future remains up in the air beyond this season, but White is a versatile Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker who the Eagles were only able to sign when he surprisingly was unable to land a long-term deal in free agency. White, who spent his first four seasons with the Chargers, is a sound run-stuffer who has the athleticism to cover and run sideline-to-sideline. It’s rare for the Eagles to acquire one big-time linebacker in an offseason and this year they got themselves three. 5. Drafting Jordan Davis, April 28: This one is a little risky since at No. 13 overall you want a defensive tackle who is more than just a run stuffer and can get some quarterback pressure as well as just clogging space in the middle. And Davis didn’t do that at Georgia. But he really wasn’t asked to, either, and the Eagles believe Davis can be a multi-dimensional player once he gets into NFL shape and really learns the pro game. Until then, at worst, he’ll be an elite run defender while rotating with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams. 6. Drafting Cam Jurgens, April 29: Rare that you draft a player you hope won’t play as a rookie, but that’s the case with Jurgens, Jason Kelce’s heir apparent at center. Most likely is that the 35-year-old Kelce plays one more season while Jurgens learns from one of the best to ever play the game and by opening day 2023 he’s ready to take over. If Kelce decides to continue another year? Then the pick doesn’t look so great but you still have a Hall of Fame center on the field and another year for Jurgens to study him. With 25-year-old Jordan Mailata, 23-year-old Landon Dickerson, 22-year-old Jurgens and 25-year-old Jack Driscoll the Eagles believe they have the nucleus of the next generation of great offensive lines. 7. Signing Zach Pascal, March 21: Not an elite player, but Pascal gives the offense a legit No. 4 after they didn’t even have a legit No. 3 last year. Pascal averaged 41 catches for 540 yards and 4 ½ TDs the last three years with the Colts. He’s a versatile veteran, a hell of a blocker and a great locker room guy, and if he’s your fourth option after Brown, Smith and Watkins he’s going to get some pretty good matchups when they go four wides. The Brown and Pascal additions pretty much guarantee that if everyone stays healthy, Jalen Reagor – coming off a historically bad season – won’t see the field on offense much if at all in 2022 even if he’s still on the roster for cap purposes. 8. Signing Boston Scott, March 19: A move that flew under the radar, but the Eagles let Scott explore free agency to avoid guaranteeing him a $2.43 million salary, then re-signed him at $1.75 million plus incentives. Scott is a truly under-rated weapon who has 1,574 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns over the last three years on only 301 touches. That’s terrific production, and Scott might never be a full-time starting running back, but he's a valuable and versatile rotation guy, and bringing him back to this running back room was huge. 9. Drafting Grant Calcaterra, April 30: The Eagles had only drafted two tight ends in the last decade – Zach Ertz in 2013 and Dallas Goedert in 2018 – and with Ertz now in Arizona and no clear No. 2 tight end, Calcaterra made sense with the 198th overall pick. The Eagles have a remarkable record drafting tight ends. Only one of the last 11 they drafted going back to the mid-1990s didn’t have a decent NFL career (that was Cornelius Ingram, who had career-ending knee problems). You can never depend on a 6th-round pick to contribute as a rookie (or ever), but Calcaterra had decent production in college – 64 catches, 861 yards, 10 TDs in the two full seasons he played – and has good size at 6-4, 240 pounds. He’s got a real chance to develop into a rotational receiving tight end behind Goedert and alongside blocking specialist Jack Stoll. 10. Signing Devon Allen, April 8: Yeah, he’s a longshot, but signing the Olympic hurdler is one of those out-of-leftfield Howie Roseman moves that has no downside (like drafting Mailata, signing Houston QB Greg Ward as a receiver, signing Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson as a tight end, etc.). Allen hasn’t played college football since 2016, but he once had 684 yards, a 16.7 average and seven touchdowns in a season playing for Oregon. You know he’s fast and in shape – he’s currently the No. 2-ranked hurdler in the world (1-100th of a second behind No. 1). Maybe he can help out. Probably not but maybe. And if he can’t, it hasn’t cost you a thing. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/ranking-howie-rosemans-top-10-eagles-offseason-moves
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