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  1. Eagles News: Kenny Gainwell among best preseason rookies graded by PFF Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/3/21. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Sep 3, 2021, 7:59am EDT Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... 2021 NFL preseason: Highest- and lowest-graded rookies for every NFL team - PFF PHILADELPHIA EAGLES. Highest: RB Kenneth Gainwell, 78.7. Lowest: DI Marlon Tuipulotu, 30.5. The fifth-round running back did more than enough this preseason to make veterans like Jordan Howard expendable. Gainwell impressed through the air, just as he did at Memphis, with nine catches for 66 yards on only 33 routes. He’s firmly a change-of-pace back from Miles Sanders. RotoPat’s Final 2021 Fantasy Rankings - Rotoworld 20. Miles Sanders — Kenneth Gainwell has Sanders living dangerously as low-end RB2. Matthew Berry’s 100 facts for the 2021 fantasy football season - ESPN 50. Last season, Miles Sanders had three runs of 70-plus yards. 51. Remove those runs and last season Sanders was 41st among running backs in fantasy points per touch. 52. Sanders has never had a game with more than 20 carries in his two-year career. 53. He did, however, have three games last season with 10 or fewer total touches. 54. To put that another way, Sanders played only 12 games last season. In 25% of them, he had 10 or fewer touches. Report: Eagles discussed Dallas Goedert trade with Vikings - BGN Despite being a constant subject of trade rumors in the offseason, it appears Zach Ertz will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles this year. The veteran tight end finally broke his silence on Wednesday and indicated the relationship between him and the organization has been mended. It still seems possible that Ertz could be moved before the NFL trade deadline on November 2, especially if the Eagles struggle and find themselves as ‘sellers.’ For now, though, Ertz is here. But are the Birds planning to trade another one of their tight ends? Former Eagles reporter Matt Lombardo had an interesting note in a recent FanSided column. Checking in on the Colts and Dolphins - PhillyVoice The Colts’ offensive line is very banged up: The Colts could be without LT Eric Fisher and LG Quenton Nelson to start the season. Fisher is still rehabbing an Achilles tear from last season, and now is also recovering from a positive COVID test. Nelson, meanwhile, like Wentz, has a foot issue and also may not be ready for Week 1. The Colts also lost Sam Tevi for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Tevi is thought of by some as one of the Colts’ top offensive line reserves, though he had some rough moments in the Colts’ preseason games. Still, losing him for the season before it even begins is especially bad timing, and may have led to the Colts’ trade for Matt Pryor. Practice Squad - Iggles Blitz Depth is the most important part. Players can be ready to join the active roster when there is an injury. In recent years the league has changed the rules and allowed some veterans to be put on the PS. That’s been a good change. It helps to keep those players employed and it helps the team. Jordan Howard is a perfect example. He is a veteran role player. You aren’t developing him for the future. The Eagles will activate him when they need help at RB. Howard can step in and play right away. Player development is obviously more of a long term thing. The Eagles liked JaCoby Stevens enough to draft him. He got hurt this summer and wasn’t able to earn a roster spot. The Eagles saw flashes of ability from him, but Stevens needs practice to develop his game and adjust to the NFL. The PS is perfect for him. OL Kayode Awosika wasn’t drafted, but he’s got NFL ability. He needs time to hone his skills. I was worried some other team might claim him, but he made it through and now can develop his game. Players tell all: Which Philadelphia Eagles are primed for a big season? - The Athletic Fletcher Cox: There’s a couple, man. There’s two people. I’ll go with 1a and 1b. I’ve gotta say Quez (Watkins) because I’ve seen this guy work his balls off all camp. He just wanted to come out and show everybody what he’s capable of doing and I think he’s doing a good job of it. And Josh Sweat. I’ve seen this coming and Josh has been having a good camp. I expect a lot of good things from him this year. Browns, Dolphins, and the Masters of Addition by Subtraction - Football Outsiders Five other quarterbacks have attempted 100 passes in one preseason in this century: Joe Webb for the 2019 Texans (115 attempts), Joey Harrington for the 2002 Lions (112), Matt McGloin for the 2017 Eagles (109), Kevin Kolb for the 2007 Eagles (105), and Ryan Nassib for the 2017 Giants (103.) Eagles partner with Audacy for Eagles Radiothon presented by Firstrust Bank and The Green Family Foundation - PE.com The Philadelphia Eagles and Audacy are teaming up for the annual "Eagles Radiothon.” The multi-day auction, presented by Firstrust Bank and The Green Family Foundation, offers fans the opportunity to bid on exclusive sports and entertainment experiences, with all proceeds benefiting Eagles Autism Foundation’s commitment to raising funds for innovative autism research and care. The auction is now live online and will be broadcast on SportsRadio 94WIP (WIP-FM), the flagship station of the Eagles, on Tuesday, September 7 and Wednesday, September 8. Could Deshaun Watson force a trade by telling the Texans he’s ready to play? - PFT This isn’t a question of whether he truly wants to play for the Texans. It’s a question of whether he’ll tell the Texans he’s ready to play in order to force Houston’s hand. With Tyrod Taylor, Jeff Driskel, and Davis Mills on the roster, what happens if Watson says, "Put me in, Coach? I’m ready to play.” That could be the only way to get the Texans to trade Watson during the 2021 season. Film review: Ben Bredeson, what can the Giants expect? - Big Blue View The issues along the New York Giants’ offensive line have were discussed ad nauseam since Kevin Zeiter’s departure. New York had the coaching hubris to suggest there wasn’t an issue. Still, the preseason alluded to an unfortunate truth - all five of the projected starters are relatively unproven, and the depth poses concern. The retirements of Zach Fulton and Joe Looney made the problem worse. The Giants made a pair of trades with AFC North teams with less than two weeks to go before opening kick-off. They acquired 2018 first-round pick Billy Price from the Bengals for B.J. Hill and a seventh-round selection. The next day they traded a fourth-round pick for 2020-fourth round guard Ben Bredeson, a fifth-round pick, and a seventh-round selection. The acquisition of Bredeson was a necessary move to improve the immediate depth, and Bredeson has the upside to start on this line. Predicting who will be the Cowboys biggest "X-Factor” this season - Blogging The Boys My X factor is Keanu Neal. We are all excited about Micah Parsons, but his expected starting partner in the nickel defense has the potential to really harass and baffle offenses. He can line up at any level of the defense as required. He can rush the passer, stuff the run, or drop in coverage. Parsons has some of the same flexibility and more speed, but Neal has veteran savvy and should start the season as the best linebacker the Cowboys can put on the field. Other teams are likely to have their eyes on the rookie because of that disruptive speed, which will also put Neal in a position to make an impact. Parsons will surpass Neal, probably by midseason or so, but he still has a lot to learn about the NFL game. And Parsons needs someone beside him he can rely on and trust. I think Neal is that guy, and he will be a driver for the overall success of the defense. Ron Rivera Presser: Our confidence is high in Curtis Samuel, but if he isn’t 100% we won’t play him - Hogs Haven Ron Rivera opened his post-practice presser talking about WR Curtis Samuel who has been dealing with a groin injury for what seems like his entire time in Washington. Samuel will work back into practice with the team on Monday as the team works in pads. Rivera’s level of optimism is very high that Samuel will be ready for Week 1. He doesn’t feel that Samuel needs extra work with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, and he already knows the offense that OC Scott Turner runs. Rivera also said that Samuel won’t play if he’s not 100% game-ready. He won’t return before he’s ready for a full workload. Rivera said the faster guys take a little bit longer to return from groin injuries. You don’t want them to tweak the injury coming back too soon. Samuel’s speed and quickness are coming back, and he’s been getting his rhythm back catching balls on the side field. Report: Colts Activate Ryan Kelly, Carson Wentz and Zach Pascal From Reserve/COVID-19 List - Stampede Blue The Indianapolis Colts have activated center Ryan Kelly, quarterback Carson Wentz and wide receiver Zach Pascal from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Zak Keefer, a writer for The Athletic. All three starters missed a total of five days after being considered "close contacts” with a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The Look Ahead #52: Ten things we’re looking forward to this season - The SB Nation NFL Show Rob "Stats” Guerrera and RJ Ochoa break down the biggest storyline of the week and tell you what you should be paying attention to this weekend (except for this week with no preseason games). Instead, here are ten things we’re looking forward to this season. The Bills taking control of the AFC from the Chiefs... if Josh Allen plays like he did last year. Justin Herbert winning the MVP. The Chiefs not getting back to the Super Bowl. Andy Dalton getting benched for Justin Fields. The Packers season ending in disappointment. Kyle Shanahan with no excuses to fall back on. The Cleveland Browns deal with success. Belichick proving he’s just as responsible for the Patriots’ success as Tom Brady. The Los Angeles Super Bowl. The Manning alternative Monday Night Football broadcast. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/9/3/22655508/eagles-news-kenny-gainwell-among-best-preseason-rookies-graded-pff-kenneth-running-back-rb-sanders?fbclid=IwAR3mBIipOTdSmR-iAZHYDc2Ghma7P4EcTstGVvyFcsfwNZNTOnOzkODKxBc
  2. First look at the Eagles’ 2021 depth chart How many wins do you see from this group? By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Updated Aug 31, 2021, 4:45pm EDT Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images The Philadelphia Eagles’ roster cuts are in and now you can find an (unofficial) depth chart below. Please note that the Eagles will likely continue to tweak their team over the next few days. For now, though, here’s your initial Eagles 53-man roster for the 2021 NFL season! OFFENSE Quarterback (3) — Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew Running back (3) — Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell Wide receiver (5) — DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside Tight end (4) — Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Tyree Jackson Offensive tackle (5) — Jordan Mailata, Lane Johnson, Jack Driscoll, Andre Dillard, Brett Toth Offensive guard (3) — Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig Center (2) - Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson DEFENSE Defensive end (5) — Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Tarron Jackson Defensive tackle (4) — Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu Linebacker (7) — Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, Davion Taylor, T.J. Edwards, Genard Avery, Shaun Bradley, Patrick Johnson Cornerback (5) — Darius Slay, Steve Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott Safety (4) — Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace SPECIAL TEAMS Kicker (1) — Jake Elliott Punter (1) — Arryn Siposs Long snapper (1) — Rick Lovato RESERVE/INJURED Out for the entire 2021 season. S Blake Countess TE Jason Croom WR Michael Walker PRACTICE SQUAD The Eagles can start signing players to their 16-man practice squad starting on Wednesday. THOUGHTS I’m proud of the Eagles for not keeping Jordan Howard on the original 53-man roster. Doing so would’ve made no sense since he’s not likely to be signed by another team. The Eagles can bring him back after they clear some roster spots if they really want to do so. In the meantime, they’ll roll with three running backs. Richard Rodgers is another candidate to return in the near future or after Week 1 in order to prevent his 2021 salary from being guaranteed as a vested vet. This assuming the Eagles still look to trade Zach Ertz. The Eagles could look to bring Le’Raven Clark back considering he outplayed Andre Dillard. But the Eagles might be in jeopardy of losing him with the Colts dealing with some offensive tackle injuries. Andrew Adams could potentially come back on the practice squad since the Eagles could use some extra safety depth. Tyree Jackson being kept on the roster confirms he’ll be eligible to return this season. Had the Eagles put him on IR before these cuts, he’d have been out for the season (like Countess now is). Correct decision not to shut him down for the year. Congratulations to Jack Stoll, the only Eagles UDFA signing to make the 53-man roster. Elijah Riley getting waived is a surprise. He provided depth at safety and looked good on special teams. Maybe the Eagles are thinking no one will claim him since he was recently banged up. Sua Opeta is a noteworthy waiving since he was on the roster bubble. The Eagles notably decided to keep extra tackle depth by rostering Brett Toth instead. Toth’s presence could signal a Dillard trade is eventually coming, as it should. JaCoby Stevens is the only pick from the Eagles’ 2021 NFL Draft class NOT to make the roster. The other eight rookies are on ... for now, at least. Philly will likely look to bring Stevens back on the practice squad. Marlon Tuipulotu’s roster spot could be in danger should the Eagles find an upgrade on waivers. Mr. T was really bad in the preseason so the bar there shouldn’t be too high. Or the team might just replace him with McGill after the vet is cleared to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Tarron Jackson made the roster after being on the bubble. Had a strong showing in the final preseason game. The Eagles are keeping seven linebackers! For now, at least. It was previously reported they’re getting calls on some of them, which is surprising. Davion Taylor will go to IR to free up a roster spot in the interim so it’s really just six healthy ones. Genard Avery made the team for the second year in a row despite not looking amazing in camp and being hurt. Josiah Scott is yet another player on the bubble who made it. Not going to say it’s convenient for anyone to ever be on the COVID-19 list but this timing worked out favorably for the Eagles and McGill. They had a tough decision to make on him since he looked good in camp but he’s a vested vet and they might not want to keep him on the original 53. Kayode Awosika could be in jeopardy of being claimed. The Eagles will be happy if he makes it through waivers. John Hightower and Travis Fulgham just didn’t do enough to earn roster spots. Hopefully the Eagles can get Jason Huntley through to the practice squad. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/8/31/22650032/eagles-depth-chart-roster-cuts-2021-nfl-philadelphia
  3. Eagles News: Philadelphia makes list of NFL teams most likely to improve in 2021 By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Aug 25, 2021, 7:36am EDT Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Predicting NFL teams most likely to improve in 2021: Numbers, history say these five will win more games - ESPN+ Like the Niners, in addition to getting healthy, the Eagles will count on turning the ball over less frequently. With Wentz and Hurts both struggling to protect the football, the Eagles turned the ball over 29 times despite recovering more than 70% of their offensive fumbles a year ago. (The league average was 53.7%.) They finished with a turnover margin of minus-10, which was just behind the 49ers for the fourth-worst mark. Philly’s defense intercepted just eight passes all season, which ranked 29th. New defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon will have to hope that a secondary anchored by Darius Slay and Anthony Harris will pick off more passes in 2021. And to make one final comparison to the Niners, the Eagles should be hoping to ride an easier schedule to a better record. Despite playing in the national disaster that was the NFC East last season, FPI estimates that they faced the NFL’s 11th-toughest schedule. Heading into 2021, FPI has them down for the eighth-easiest set of opponents. Eagles-Jets Training Camp Practice Notes: Philadelphia outshines New York - BGN The Jets’ starting offense didn’t have much success against the Eagles’ starting defense. NYJ fumbled away their first possession before then going three-and-out on their next try when practice narrowed down to one field towards the end of the session. Philly’s defensive line was causing a lot of trouble for New York. Javon Hargrave was especially disruptive. Eagles-Jets Joint Training Camp Observations (Day 1) - BGN Radio Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski discuss the biggest takeaways from the first Eagles-Jets joint training camp practice! The guys touch on the Birds looking like the better team, Jalen Hurts’ ups and downs, Philly’s defensive domination, MVPs/LVPs,and much more! Jalen Hurts should absolutely start the Eagles’ preseason finale - PhillyVoice Jalen Hurts must play in the final preseason game against the Jets. It’s that simple. There is no way the Eagles can honestly say this is about giving Hurts a fair and honest look at the position without also giving him the basic preparation that comes from the preseason. 10 truths to be self-evident in the 2021 season ahead - PE.com The Eagles are going to have a lot of guys in QB’s face. They are going to come from everywhere in this defense. It’s not going to be just Fletcher Cox or Brandon Graham or Josh Sweat. The Eagles have depth in pass-rush talent, and it’s going to be fun to watch offenses try to figure out from where the pressure is coming. Off the edge? Sure, the Eagles can bring it. Inside heat? Oh, for sure. The goal is to collapse the pocket and the Eagles have, well, pocket collapsers. There may not be a single guy who hits double digits, but after watching this defensive line this summer, the Eagles have the pieces to generate some H-E-A-T. Good, old-fashioned Eagles defense. 10 Eagles on the bubble before final roster push vs. Jets - NBCSPLe’Raven Clark — Clark is off the Active/PUP list and he’s been ramping up. In these practices, he just needs to show he’s healthy. There are some questions about the depth at the tackle spot, especially because Andre Dillard is still here and clearly shouldn’t be a starter. If Clark looks healthy this week, he offers the Eagles a veteran backup. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/8/25/22640912/eagles-news-philadelphia-nfl-teams-most-likely-improve-2021-espn-jalen-hurts-jets-training-camp-qb?fbclid=IwAR2sXEgUxu8FjaqbeypcwXL_Bb4CzUlF0TJsyj7r9HDlyxca1OoCP7pXZ7I NOTE: only posted current Eagles team related news (click on link if you wish to read blurbs about other teams)
  4. Eagles News: NFL offense rankings have Philadelphia towards the bottom of the league Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 8/6/21. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Aug 6, 2021, 7:26am EDT Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... Ranking every NFL offense from 1 to 32 going into the 2021 season - The Athletic 29. Philadelphia Eagles. Last year: 28th. Their best recipe for success is to implement a run game that involves a heavy dose of Jalen Hurts. On paper, the Eagles should have a strong offensive line, but their best players are all on the wrong side of 30. Hurts completed just 52 percent of his passes last year, but he produced 0.12 EPA per play, which would have translated to about the 21st-ranked starting QB if extended over a full season. The Eagles are counting on rookie Devonta Smith to have a big impact and for second-year player Jalen Reagor to make the leap. This group could reach mediocrity if the run game clicks, but it has a low floor. Head coach Nick Sirianni will be calling plays in the NFL for the first time and is a complete unknown. NFL Offense Power Rankings: All 32 offenses ranked into 5 distinct tiers - PFF Tier 5 - The Rest. Philadelphia had a chance to upgrade at quarterback this season once they traded away Carson Wentz, but instead elected to address the wide receiver position and turn the keys over to Jalen Hurts for at least a season. DeVonta Smith has the potential to make a massive impact even as a rookie. He is one of the most technically sound receivers to enter the league in years, with passes thrown his way in college resulting in an NFL passer rating of 153.4. Hurts may put a cap on how good this offense can be, but he also raises the floor with his threat as a rusher. Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes: Jalen Reagor did some good things - BGN JALEN REAGOR: We’ve been waiting for Reagor to do something and he finally did on Thursday during WR vs. DB 1-on-1s. Nick Mullens lofted a fade to the Eagles’ 2020 first-round pick in the back right corner of the end zone. It didn’t look like it was going to be completed as it was a little too high ... but Reagor stuck his hand up and made an incredible one-handed grab to ‘Moss’ Darius Slay. Easily the best catch of training camp thus far. Nice to see! (Update: The Eagles posted video.) Unfortunately, Reagor failed to win his next two reps. Slay’s sticky coverage prevented him from getting any separation on their next battle. Reagor absolutely dusted Slay on their final matchup but failed to catch the pass after getting wide open. Really nice route! But gotta finish that. Reagor had a solid catch along the sideline during an 11-on-11 that prompted Nick Sirianni to run up to him and put his arm around the receiver. Some positive reinforcement for Reagor after Sirianni previously chewed him out on Wednesday. That rep might’ve been Reagor’s most successful play in team drills; he’s been more effective in 1-on-1 than 11-on-11. Though, Reagor did have another short catch on the boundary where Nelson really tried to rip the ball out and he held on. Training Camp Buzz: Eagles in ‘no rush’ to name Jalen Hurts QB1 - NFL.comJalen Hurts is the presumptive starting quarterback for the Eagles. It’s just not his official title. That might continue to be the case for a few weeks. Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni told reporters Thursday that "there’s no rush” in naming Hurts the starter ahead of Joe Flacco. "We’re just not there yet,” Sirianni said. The noncommittal answer didn’t help dispel a CBS report that trade talks have intensified between Philly and the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson. Sirianni neither confirmed nor denied the validity of that development when asked about it. "I’m not going to talk about the hypotheticals with rumors,” he said. "All I can tell you is that every decision that we make here is a group effort. How and his staff and myself, we’re working together to get the best 53 out on the field every Sunday.” Nick Sirianni gets taste of Philly when asked to crash random wedding on family vacation - 94WIP "But we’re there and we’re coming off the beach at night and there’s a wedding going on at the hotel we’re staying at. We had to walk through the area of the wedding to get to the elevator to our room. And there was a groomsman and he was like, ‘Hey! Can you stay right there, I’m going to get the bride and groom.’ So I think it was like 20 minutes, I was in the wedding party photos. And there was an Eagles chant that happened—’E-A-G-L-E-S’—after every one. And I’m like this is pretty cool. I just saw my son staring at me, he’s six, like what the heck is going on here? DeVonta Smith and the Eagles Draft Curse - Football Outsiders There are more recent draft busts, near-busts, or injury cases at other position groups. At left tackle, 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard is in the process of losing his job to Australian behemoth Jordan Mailata. Center Landon Dickerson, this year’s second-round pick, is still on the mend (not unexpectedly) from the ACL tear he suffered at the end of last season. Linebacker Davion Taylor, last year’s third-round pick, left the field on Tuesday with a quad injury. Throw in the guys who aren’t even around anymore (Sidney Jones, You Know Who) and the Eagles have very little to show on the field right now for the top three rounds of their drafts dating all the way back to 2014. There’s Hurts, of course, running back Miles Sanders, sturdy guard Isaac Seumalo, defensive end Derek Barnett (having a strong camp), some prospects such as Dillard who are maxing out as just another guy, plus the 2020/2021 receivers. That’s it. There’s no young core, just a dusting of hopefuls atop a thick permafrost of aging veterans. (Ed. Note: In an upcoming ESPN+ article, Football Outsiders will rank the Eagles 25th out of the 32 teams in talent under the age of 25.) It’s fashionable in Philly to blame Howie Roseman for the last half-decade of unproductive drafts. Could Andre Dillard become option for Rams in the future? - Turf Show Times There has been some thought that Dillard could become expendable by the end of training camp, just two years after he was a first round pick. The Rams would not be high on the waiver priority but for a team that’s looking for answers as to the future of their tackle position — including their own International player in Max Pircher — any option is something worth considering. Texans still want too much for Deshaun Watson - PFT Per a league source, the Texans still haven’t softened their trade expectations for Watson, despite the lingering uncertainty regarding his career. It’s an odd position, given that teams are reluctant to acquire Watson given the possibility that he’ll be indicted by a grand jury, tried on criminal charges, and potentially convicted. The latest twist comes courtesy of Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, who reported on Thursday night that the Texans have stopped returning phone calls from teams interested in Watson. That’s quite possibly because the Texans are sick of getting lowballed for Watson. Deshaun Watson’s Training Camp Behavior is Hurting his Own Trade Value - Battle Red Blog There are several hundred athletes waiting for a team to give them a call up for training camp. These players are actually so desperate they are hoping other players get injured to open up a roster spot for them. Watson occupying one of these spots to aimlessly stand on the training camp field is quite possibly the most vain and impartial act in Texas sports history. Watson isn’t helping the offense get better by playing on defense. He isn’t helping the defense get better by just standing there. He isn’t helping the coaches evaluate talent. He’s merely helping his own bank account. Deshaun Watson isn’t helping the Texans and never will again. Titans sign QB Matt Barkley - Music City Miracles The backup quarterback position is an obvious point of weakness on this roster. Before the addition of Barkley, it was Logan Woodside and DeShone Kizer battling it out for the No. 2 job behind Ryan Tannehill. Barkley now adds another arm to that competition, one with considerably more experience. Barkley was a fourth round pick back in 2013, falling to the Eagles. He played two seasons in Philadelphia before moving on to spend one season in Chicago. Barkley has since spent the last three seasons as the backup in Buffalo. Report: Kenny Golladay to miss 2-3 weeks with hamstring injury - Big Blue View The Giants are counting on Golladay to man the "X” receiver position and help open up their offense as a whole. The "2-3 week” timeline should get Golladay back on the field about three weeks before the start of the regular season. Retired Colts QB Philip Rivers Hasn’t Completely Closed the Door on a Late Season NFL Comeback - Stampede Blue While he had obvious shortcomings regarding his diminished arm strength and a complete lack of mobility, Rivers commanded the line of scrimmage, largely avoided pressure, and was incredibly accurate for the Colts this past season. He played pretty smart, efficient, and winning football—even if it wasn’t necessarily spectacular by any stretch overall. The energetic grizzled field general brought much needed leadership in the locker room. That being said, with newly acquired starter Carson Wentz expected to miss 5 to 12 weeks recovering/rehabilitating from recent foot surgery, the Colts theoretically need Rivers now—not late in the season, where their postseason fate may already be well determined. The Look Ahead #48: Deshaun Watson rumors + Football is back - The SB Nation NFL Show Rob "Stats” Guerrera and RJ Ochoa react to the out-of-the-blue Deshaun Watson rumors that popped up Wednesday night and wonder what could have happened that triggered them. Plus, we preview the Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and Steelers as well as the inductions this weekend. How could the Eagles consider making a trade now? Why was this shot down so quickly? What to watch in tonight’s Hall of Fame Game Who will make the best induction speech during the HoF enshrinement ceremony? https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/8/6/22612601/eagles-news-nfl-offense-rankings-philadelphia-bottom-league-pff-the-athletic-pro-football-focus-bgn?fbclid=IwAR3dNY0yD3eC8L066hNN5vGFGzwb_YHUo7RCNUZJ0SRqOi8YhUinv0nOzb4
  5. New twist to the Eagles’ linebacker position this year Eagles training camp position preview: Linebacker. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Jul 22, 2021, 6:28pm EDT Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Philadelphia Eagles training camp is right around the corner! Players are scheduled to report to the NovaCare Complex on July 27. As we count down the days together, Bleeding Green Nation will be previewing every position on the Eagles’ roster. We continue today by taking a look at the linebacker position. Previously: Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive line. THE PLAYERS OFF-BALL LINEBACKERS ERIC WILSON, ALEX SINGLETON, T.J. EDWARDS, SHAUN BRADLEY, DAVION TAYLOR, JACOBY STEVENS, RASHAD SMITH Wilson was an intriguing signing; the 26-year-old is coming off his first season as a full-time starter. He sure filled the stat sheet with 122 tackles, nine quarterback hits, eight passes defensed, three interceptions, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. Then again, his production came while playing for an uncharacteristically bad Vikings defense and Minnesota didn’t exactly make a big effort to retain him. Wilson very well might continue to ascend in Philly. He has a reputation for being strong in pass coverage, allowing just a 74.3 passer rating when targeted last year. But there are concerns about his tackling efficiency after 17 missed attempts in 2020. It’d be nice to see Wilson flash some playmaking ability in practices and/or preseason games. Singleton might be the new Greg Ward in that he’s being overvalued because he offered mere competency at a spot where the Eagles were really struggling. He’s also the anti-Wilson in that there are concerns about his coverage abilities (102.8 passer rating when targeted last year) but is a tackling machine. Maybe Jonathan Gannon can find a way to play to his players’ strengths. As a limited athlete, Edwards fits more of the Singleton mold. The former UDFA signing has mostly been a role player and special teams contributor to this point. Will that change under the new coaching staff? Maybe. We’ll see if he can earn more playing time. Bradley had a decent training camp last year and he also flashed in some limited playing time on defense. Maybe there’s something here with this guy. Good under-the-radar player to watch this summer. Taylor predictably struggled as an especially inexperienced rookie. He needs to take some kind of step forward this season, even if he’s just limited to being a good special teams player. Stevens is making the transition to linebacker after being listed as a safety at LSU. The 2021 sixth-round pick isn’t guaranteed a roster spot. He’ll need to show why he deserves to be on this roster. Smith is a long shot to stick around as he enters his first camp with Philly. Might max out at making the practice squad. PASS-RUSHING LINEBACKERS GENARD AVERY, JOE OSTMAN, PATRICK JOHNSON I created a separate category for these three players who are essentially undersized edge rushers. Based on some early indications, it looks like Jonathan Gannon could have them playing some kind of Anthony Barr role. Avery had a bad training camp last year but made the team anyway in part because the front office didn’t want to give up on him after trading a 2021 fourth-round pick for him. Avery justified his roster spot with a strong showing against the 49ers before disappearing the rest of the season. It’s very possible the new coaching staff might trust him a lot more than the previous one did. Avery switching from traditional 4-3 defensive end to a situational linebacker role might also help his case. Ostman, like Avery, was seen working out with the linebacker position group in OTAs. He’ll compete for a roster spot as he transitions to a new role. The Eagles’ final pick in the 2021 NFL Draft could have his work cut out for him when it comes to making the team. It’ll be interesting to see if Johnson can flash at all this summer. HOW WILL IT PLAY OUT? Wilson and Singleton seem like the favorites to start, though Edwards could be in the mix there. At least one, if not two, from the pass-rushing group should make the final 53. Overall, it’s hardly the most inspiring linebacker corps in the league. The realistic hope is that it can be passable. WHO COULD BE A SURPRISE CUT? Taylor could be gone after just one year with the Eagles if he still looks totally lost this summer. Stevens might not make the team. Avery getting cut shouldn’t be a shock but would be noteworthy. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/7/22/22589350/eagles-training-camp-preview-linebacker-philadelphia-eric-wilson-alex-singleton-genard-avery-defense
  6. Eagles News: Howie Roseman takes a tumble in the NFL GM rankings Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 7/22/21. By Brandon Lee Gowton on July 22, 2021 8:36 am Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... NFL General Manager Rankings 2021 - NBC Sports Edge 16) Really, what is there to say other than "that escalated quickly.” 2017 felt like the birth of a dynasty. Howie Roseman’s hand-picked quarterback Carson Wentz was on track to win MVP until he tore his ACL in Week 14. What should have been a season-ruining disaster turned out to be a speed bump as the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. That’s how good the 53-man roster was. Until it was too good to be true. The skill corps got old in a blink, the offensive line was ravaged by injury and the secondary simply never came together. Roseman’s best-laid plans splintered apart in every imaginable fashion, right down to his would-be cornerstone piece in Wentz devolving into one of the worst players in the league by 2020. A team that should have been running roughshod over the worst division in football is now rebuilding for the third time in eight years since Andy Reid’s departure. Roseman has given himself options with 19 draft picks over the past two springs, but 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor is already looking shaky, to the point that Roseman went back to the Day 1 receiving well this April. Roseman also made the least inspiring head-coaching hire of his career, with Nick Sirianni in seemingly no danger of out-scheming Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson. That, of course, could be the point after the increasingly convoluted Pederson years, but that is the charitable interpretation. Roseman’s rise, fall, rise, fall career arc is a vivid illustration of the one speed at which the NFL comes at you: Fast. [BLG Note: Roseman finished 4th in these GM rankings last year. Dropped 12 spots.] Report: Zach Ertz will attend Eagles training camp, "great chance” he’s on this year’s team - BGN Maybe Ertz reporting to camp doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’ll be on the Eagles’ roster this year. Maybe both Ertz and/or the team are hoping another team suffers a significant tight end injury that boosts his value, akin to the Sam Bradford situation in 2016. But mere "hope” doesn’t seem like the best strategy. There’s also a chance that Ertz gets hurt and the Eagles are on the hook for his salary. It’s understandable why some fans will be excited to see Ertz is back. He’s one of the biggest fan favorites on the team. But while his return might benefit the team in 2021, it’s not the best long-term move for the franchise. Beyond the issue of his cap number, there’s the impact his return has on Dallas Goedert. Is Goedert, who is entering a contract year, really going to love having to share snaps with Ertz yet again? Are the Eagles going to get a great read on what Goedert can do as a TE1 if Ertz is around? NFC East Mixtape Vol.14: Questions Entering Training Camp - BGN Radio With training camp starting at the end of this week, it’s only right for Brandon Lee Gowton and RJ Ochoa to preview questions and concerns for the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants and Washington Football Team ahead of the season. 2020 Receiving Plus-Minus: The Return of Stefon Diggs and the Deep Threat - Football Outsiders And, with that in mind, we turn to Miles Sanders and his 54.9% catch rate. His -13.1 isn’t just the record for the position, it’s the only time we have ever seen a running back hit negative-double digits. Eight drops on 53 targets is atrocious. It’s a huge fall from grace from a player who was seventh in receiving DYAR as a rookie, though you have to wonder in retrospect how much of that 2019 success was based on unsustainable big plays. For what it’s worth, Sanders had a -31.1% CPOE when targeted by Carson Wentz and a -8.5% CPOE when targeted by Jalen Hurts. It’s conceivable that Sanders was just brought down by Wentz’s 2020 implosion. Eagles fans better hope that that’s true, because word out of camp is that Nick Sirianni is bringing "more emphasis on the screen game” in 2021. If Sanders can’t recover from the drops, that bodes very poorly going forward. Questions surrounding each NFC East team as training camp begins - Blogging The Boys There was no bigger makeover in the NFC East than in Philadelphia this offseason as both head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz were jettisoned, albeit in different capacities. This is now the Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts show, at least for 2021, which brings up the question as to whether this show is even any good or not. Philly has some veterans that have helped make them contenders for some time, but most of their notable players are over the age of 30. Time has run out on whatever run they had around their Super Bowl win and now young players are going to have to step up. Ranking the defensive lines of each NFC East team - Big Blue View 2. Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants and Cowboys’ defensive lines were ranked 18 and higher by PFF while the next two NFC East teams both fall within the top five rankings. The Philadelphia Eagles received a No. 5 overall ranking. The 5 O’Clock Club: Statistical Data Dump - Hogs Haven Football Outsiders has a stat they call "Completion percentage over expected”. Ryan Fitzpatrick was ranked 9th best on this metric among qualifying QBs just ahead of Baker Mayfield. Dwayne Haskins was the worst-ranked in this metric. Bill Barnwell Ranks the Colts as Having the League’s 5th Worst ‘Offensive Weapon Arsenal’ - Stampede Blue Now, it’s true though. The Colts lack an elite, alpha dog #1 wideout. The big name. However, for the Colts’ offensive arsenal, it’s still strength in numbers. The team features a breakout star at running back, Jonathan Taylor, and has talent at wideout with Hilton, Pittman Jr., Pascal, and Campbell (*if he can stay healthy)—where each wide receiver brings a unique skill-set. Not to mention, scatback Nyheim Hines is dangerous with both his feet and his hands—as he’s a versatile, electric weapon in the backfield. Ranking the NFL’s second-year breakout candidates: 15 players who could become stars - ESPN+ While Washington pass-rusher Chase Young and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert — both top-six picks in the 2020 NFL draft — didn’t waste any time showcasing their talent at the NFL level last season, most rookies stumbled through a year of hopefully correctable errors. The Class of 2020 endured one of the most unique first years ever amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, that group will have a chance to settle down and soak in a normal offseason. Which second-year players could break out in 2021? We ranked the best 15 sophomores who could star in 2021 after showing only glimpses of their potential last season. [BLG Note: No Eagles players made this list.] How long will Tom Brady play? Trainer says he’s wants to go 2 more years - SB Nation If you’ve been anxiously awaiting Tom Brady’s retirement from the NFL, well, I’ve got some bad news for you. On Monday morning Brady’s longtime trainer Alex Guererro said Brady has every intention of playing two more seasons, fulfilling his goal of playing in the league until the age of 45. Guererro said his greatest joy as a trainer is extending the careers of players a few years past what people think is possible, and he’s applying that to Brady. Off Day Debrief #46: Akers goes down, Rodgers news + AFC North All Star Team - The SB Nation NFL Show Rob "Stats” Guerrera and Brandon Lee Gowton discuss a big loss for the Rams and the latest twist in the Aaron Rodgers saga before choosing the best players in the AFC North. Is Adam Schefter’s tweet about Rodgers even news? How big a deal is losing Cam Akers for the Rams? Does OBJ still deserve to be considered a top wide receiver? When did the Browns become such a smart organization? Who coaches the AFC North all star team? https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/platform/amp/2021/7/22/22588426/eagles-news-howie-roseman-takes-tumble-nfl-gm-rankings-philadelphia-general-manager-football-nbc?utm_campaign=brandongowton&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR0sA-CaN5EN19xxQWUHwRiZbDLVia43qVhXrCAAComXE179SgIi4lFI6hM
  7. Forecasting where the Eagles’ 2022 first-round pick from the Dolphins might end up Philly fans will be rooting against Jalen Hurts’ old teammate this year. By Brandon Lee Gowton on May 24, 2021 12:21 pm Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images One of the most interesting aspects of the upcoming Philadelphia Eagles season doesn’t even have anything to do with their games. That’s not meant as a slight to the Birds, to be clear. Rather, it’s about the intrigue that comes with the high picks they’re owed in the 2022 NFL Draft. We all know the Birds could potentially have three first-round selections next year. We already spend plenty of time concerning ourselves with the Eagles’ outlook. Why not also forecast how the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts might fare this season? You know, to get a sense of where those picks owned by the Eagles might land. We’ll start today with the Fish before moving on for a closer look at Carson Wentz’s new team. EARLY 2021 POINT SPREADS The Dolphins are favored in just eight of their 17 games, which ranks tied for 17th most alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans. A week-by-week overview: Week 1 - Dolphins at Patriots (-2.5) Week 2 - Bills (-3.5) at Dolphins Week 3 - Dolphins (PICK) at Raiders Week 4 - Colts (-1.5) at Dolphins Week 5 - Dolphins at Buccaneers (-7.5) Week 6 - Dolphins (-1.5) at Jaguars Week 7 - Falcons at Dolphins (-3.5) Week 8 - Dolphins at Bills (-7) Week 9 - Texans at Dolphins (-7.5) Week 10 - Ravens (-3) at Dolphins Week 11 - Dolphins (-3) at Jets Week 12 - Panthers at Dolphins (-4.5) Week 13 - Giants at Dolphins (-3.5) Week 14 - BYE Week 15 - Jets at Dolphins (-6.5) Week 16 - Dolphins at Saints (-3.5) Week 17 - Dolphins at Titans (-3) Week 18 - Patriots at Dolphins (-2.5) Going through a quick win-loss prediction, I see the Dolphins finishing around 9-8 or 10-7. Miami finished the 2020 season with a defense that ranked ninth overall by weighted DVOA. There’s reason to believe Brian Flores will have that unit playing well once again in 2021. The Dolphins head coach has generally maximized his talent thus far. The secondary looks strong on paper with Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Jevon Holland, and old friend Eric Rowe starting there. The Dolphins drafted boom-or-bust edge defender Jaelen Phillips to potentially give them some more pass-rushing juice. The bigger question is what happens with the offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone. Tua Tagovailoa is now the starting quarterback and there’s a decent amount of skepticism about his outlook. Pro Football Focus recently ranked him 29th (just two spots ahead of former Alabama teammate Jalen Hurts) out of 32 starters: I can’t say I was impressed with what I saw out of Tua last year. In fairness to him, he was coming off injury and didn’t have a normal offseason. He also didn’t have Jaylen Waddle and WIll Fuller, who the Dolphins added this offseason, to work with. Still, he could’ve reasonably shown more potential. Look at what Justin Herbert did last year. Things were hardly easy for him playing behind one of the NFL’s worst pass-blocking offensive lines. Unlike Tua, Herbert had to make his NFL debut on very shorter notice. And yet he thrived in the face of adversity. It’s possible things come together for Tua in Year 2 but I don’t know about him suddenly evolving into a top 10 player at his position. I’m still expecting to see a below-average starter until he proves himself otherwise. I think there’s a realistic scenario where Tua totally flops and this team finishes with a losing record. Flores and the defense should prevent something as catastrophic as a bottom-five finish, though. I’m going to guess the most likely range for the Dolphins’ 2022 first-round pick is between 11 and 21. What say you? https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/platform/amp/2021/5/24/22451331/eagles-2022-first-round-pick-dolphins-miami-trade-philadelphia-tua-tagovailoa-brian-flores-record-qb?utm_campaign=brandongowton&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&__twitter_impression=true
  8. Eagles Rookie Profile: 6 things to know about Kenny Gainwell Get to know Philly’s new running back. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 21, 2021, 8:00am EDT Joe Broback of Underdog Dynasty contributed to this post. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports The Philadelphia Eagles selected Kenny Gainwell with pick No. 150 in the 2021 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the Memphis running back, I reached out to SB Nation’s college blog that includes AAC coverage: Underdog Dynasty. The jovial Joe Broback was kind enough to answer my questions. 1) Can you recap his college career? Gainwell sat behind two of the better backs Memphis has seen in Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor his freshman year. In 2019, Henderson turned pro and Taylor went down with an injury. In stepped Gainwell, who exploded from the minute he got the starting job. Mike Norvell put him in the spotlight with his abilities as a runner and a pass-catcher, and he quickly became one of the most dynamic players in college football. In 2020, he sat out due to COVID concerns, which limit the film he was able to put out for teams to watch. In 2019, he rushed for 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns, but also caught 51 passes for 610 yards and three touchdowns. 2) What are his strengths? Versatility is the biggest one. He can run in the trenches, but can also line up out wide and act as a wide receiver. He’s an explosive player who can make a sudden cut to open the field up and gash an opposing defense, and he keeps his pads square to bounce off of tacklers coming from different angles. His balance allows him to make one move after another thanks to quick footwork, and that got him out of a ton of tight jams in 2019. 3) What are his weaknesses? The biggest one is inexperience. While he dominated in 2019, it was his only full year of experience. Teams weren’t completely sure what they were getting when they watched him, though that shouldn’t be a huge concern going forward. He’ll need to find a way to avoid contact more, as he takes a ton of hits for a guy that isn’t built to withstand that type of play. Throw that on top of the fact that he’s not the most powerful runner, and a power run game isn’t something he should focus on. 4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right? I thought he should have been drafted much higher. With the unique skill set he brings to the NFL, I thought teams would be lining up to draft him. His pass-catching abilities make him special, and I thought that would push him into Day 2. 5) How do you see his NFL career playing out? If he learns to avoid so much contact, he’ll be in the league for a long time. His agility and playmaking in the open field can make him one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. He can be a matchup nightmare for any defense, and finding a way to be a three-down back remains the biggest goal. 6) Anything to know about him off the field? He lost four family members to COVID, which a lot of people still don’t know. He wanted to play for Memphis last year, but the pandemic hit too close to home for him to risk it. Gainwell also chose Memphis over rival Ole Miss to play college ball. BLG’s take: Gainwell should make for a nice addition to the Eagles’ running back rotation. There’s thought he could be Nick Sirianni’s Philly version of Nyheim Hines. For perspective, Hines averages 4.7 rushing attempts per game and 3.5 receptions per game. I don’t imagine Gainwell will see those numbers right out of the gate; he’ll have to make the most out of limited opportunities to earn more playing time. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/21/22447077/kenny-gainwell-eagles-rookie-profile-philadelphia-nfl-draft-memphis-running-back-fantasy-football-rb?fbclid=IwAR14oVvzMtPRepFpRMZflokHqiOPeuFvs7V-SPhugqIJQtZJk4RZ6AvS_tI
  9. Eagles Rookie Profile: 5 things to know about Milton Williams Get to know one of Philly’s new defensive linemen. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 19, 2021, 12:15pm EDT Eric Henry of Underdog Dynasty contributed to this post. (Williams is No. 97) Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Much to the chagrin of Tom Donahoe, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Milton Wiliams with pick No. 73 in the 2021 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the Louisiana Tech defensive tackle, I reached out to SB Nation’s college blog that includes Conference USA coverage: Underdog Dynasty. The excellent Eric Henry was kind enough to answer my questions. 1) Can you recap his college career? His story is similar to so many players before him who played at Group of Five programs. Williams was a lightly recruited 225-pound defensive end when he signed with Louisiana Tech in 2017. After redshirting as a freshman and seeing playing time sparingly the next season, he emerged as one of the top defensive linemen in Conference USA in 2019. In two seasons as a starter, he racked up 104 tackles and 19 tackles for loss, playing both end and tackle. What’s interesting about his Tech career is he was largely overshadowed by more high-profile players. Williams was tasked with filling the shoes left behind by Jaylon Ferguson, who set the NCAA all-time sack mark during his time in Ruston. Former four-star recruit Willie Baker was expected to be the premier pass-rush option once Ferguson graduated in 2018. However, Williams’ play on the field earned him selections to all-conference teams in 2019 and 2020. 2) What are his strengths? Despite the fact that he was a slightly-built defensive lineman in high school, he’s a natural pass-rusher with the ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. His excellent performance during Louisiana Tech’s pro day makes his NFL potential intriguing. At 278 pounds, Williams ran a 4.6 40-yard-dash, put up 32 reps on the bench press, and ran a 6.87 mark in the three-cone drill. That athleticism helped him tremendously at the Group of Five level, where he was able to use sheer strength and speed to win one-on-one matchups. 3) What are his weaknesses? The obvious thing that stands out is against superior competition (BYU, TCU) in 2020, his play was average. Consistency was an issue at times during his tenure in Ruston. However, these are things that can be expected out of a two-year starter, who was/is still evolving as a defensive lineman. In my mind, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t continue to grow at the position. 4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right? Where he was drafted is about right. There’s no denying that his excellent pro day helped his draft stock. While I don’t think it would have been a reach if he had been taken in the second round, the Eagles are getting an excellent value with him in the third round. 5) How do you see his NFL career playing out? This could be said about a large majority of NFL draft picks, but I think it’s especially true about Group of Five players that they either have high ceilings or they’ve maxed out their potential once getting to the league. Williams falls in the former category. He’s put on over 50 pounds during his collegiate career and as his pro day showed, he’s still capable of maintaining a high level of athleticism. He may need a year or two to adjust to the NFL, specifically the skill level of offensive linemen he’ll face. However, he has all of the physical tools to be a starter on the defensive line. BLG’s take: Williams’ upside is intriguing given his athleticism. I do wonder how ready he is to contribute as a rookie and how much time he’ll need to develop. Can the Eagles really count on him being DT3 behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave this year? I’m not so sure. But maybe he’ll surprise and give the Birds some nice interior pass-rushing juice. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/19/22443959/eagles-rookie-profile-milton-williams-louisiana-tech-defensive-tackle-tom-donahoe-philadelphia-nfl?fbclid=IwAR1zH9zM5fTLn48IGmLs46gCQRs_lYFfuz01KJxtMxD4lxhNiA76kTTcxcI
  10. Eagles Rookie Profile: 6 things to know about JaCoby Stevens Get to know Philly’s new ... linebacker/safety. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 22, 2021, 9:42am EDT Zachary Junda of And The Valley Shook contributed to this post. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images The Philadelphia Eagles selected JaCoby Stevens with pick No. 224 in the 2021 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the LSU defender, I reached out to SB Nation’s college blog that offers LSU coverage: And The Valley Shook. The zealous Zachary Junda was kind enough to answer my questions. 1) Can you recap his college career? I don’t want to say tumultuous because the word has such a negative connotation, but JaCoby’s LSU career certainly had some up-and-down moments. I suppose it starts all the way back to his recruitment, Stevens initially committed to LSU as an undergrad but backed off when doubts about Les Miles’s future arose. While Miles was eventually fired prior to Stevens signing his Letter of Intent, Ed Orgeron and his staff were able to keep Stevens in the Tigers 2017 signing class. Stevens played both ways in high school and coming into college could’ve gone a number of different ways. His first start as a Tiger was actually at receiver, where Stevens initially wanted to play, before ultimately settling in the secondary. From then he would go on to play in 42 games with 30 starts at safety including all 15 in LSU’s 2019 championship run. Stevens would wear the coveted No. 7 jersey as a senior, which has been a newer tradition at LSU. That number is worn by the playmaker and guys like Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette, DJ Chark, and Grant Delpit all wore it. Now technically Ja’Marr Chase was going to wear that number last year but he opted out prior to the season started and Stevens donned it in his place. JaCoby may have been the second choice to wear that sacred number but he performed admirably, leading LSU in tackles with 63 plus six tackles for loss, three sacks, and recovered three fumbles including a game-sealing one in the season finale against Ole Miss. 2) What are his strengths? As football starts to morph into a positionless game, Stevens has the athleticism that will fit with any professional franchise. He’s quick enough to cover running backs coming out of the flat or slot receivers and he’s big enough to engage with tight ends. He has more to work within his toolbox than most sixth-round picks and that versatility will help him earn a roster spot. 3) What are his weaknesses? At the collegiate level, Stevens was always the "good at everything but maybe not great at one thing type” of player. He couldn’t play centerfield like Eric Reid nor had a knack for forcing turnovers like Tyrann Mathieu. In LSU’s complete domination of Oklahoma in the 2019 Chick Fil A Peach Bowl, Stevens was responsible for a 51-yard reception to CeeDee Lamb; against Clemson in the 2020 national championship game, he was slow reacting to a read-option play by Trevor Lawrence and allowed the game’s opening touchdown. That’s two instances where Stevens was on the losing end of a matchup against future pros (first-round picks at that) and I fear that he may keep being victimized. 4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right? I was very surprised JaCoby went in the sixth round, largely because this time last year some thought he could be a first-round pick. I would have thought between his impeccable character, his variety of skills, and a strong showing at LSU’s pro day he would have been a late day two pick or at the very worst be one of the first ones off the board on day three. But as the 2020 season progressed and LSU fielded the worst defense in its 127 years of existence, Stevens stock tanked. If I had to guess, I would assume scouts and general managers asked themselves, do we really want to invest an early pick on a safety/linebacker hybrid that can’t adequately defend the pass in a pass-happy league? That wound up not being the case. 5) How do you see his NFL career playing out? I think JaCoby Stevens will be the kind of guy who has an eight to 10-year long career and whatever team he is on will be all the better for it. Linebacker is exactly where he should be playing because he’s fantastic playing close to the line of scrimmage. Those aren’t just my thoughts, former Tiger DB and current NFL analyst Ryan Clark said Stevens should have asked the LSU coaching staff to play him at linebacker last season. If he does toe the line between safety and linebacker then best case scenario Stevens can be a poor man’s Jamal Adams. Or put another way, he could be a less punchable Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. 6) Anything to know about him off the field? I’ll make a prediction: Stevens will eventually be Philadelphia’s Walter Peyton Man of the Year nomination. He may even win it one of these years. JaCoby is one of the best ambassadors for LSU to come through in quite some time. He would speak at schools in the Baton Rouge area, partake in hurricane relief; last summer was at the forefront of LSU’s social justice movement and started an initiative that got all of his LSU teammates registered to vote. He was LSU’s choice for the SEC Community Service Team and was on the Wuerffel Trophy watchlist, which is essentially the Heisman of community service. BLG’s take: The Eagles are indeed interested in Stevens playing at linebacker. They have him listed at that position on their official roster page. Stevens also told reporters he’s mostly been in touch with linebackers coach Nick Rallis. Stevens is very much the lightest linebacker on the roster listed at just 212 pounds. The next closest is Rashad Smith, likely a camp body, at 220. Then there’s Davion Taylor and Eric Wilson at 230. Thus, the Eagles might want Stevens to add some weight. It could take some time for Stevens to do that and develop into a player who sees defensive snaps, perhaps in a specialized role. In the meantime, Stevens can make his mark by making an impact on the special teams unit. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/22/22448770/jacoby-stevens-eagles-rookie-profile-philadelphia-lsu-safety-linebacker-tigers-convert-louisiana-nfl
  11. Eagles News: Football Outsiders projects a bottom 8 finish for Philadelphia in 2021 Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/22/21. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 22, 2021, 8:01am EDT Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... 2022 NFL draft order projections: Predicting top 10 picks, why the Jets will have No. 1 - ESPN+ 8. Philadelphia Eagles. A team that looked deep across the board a year ago now looks just all-around drained on both offense and defense. Some players aged. Some are gone. Some were never as good as expected. The Eagles don’t project to be particularly terrible in any area. They just don’t project to be good anywhere, either. Philadelphia’s projections for offense, defense and special teams all fall between 23rd and 26th in the league. On offense, there are questions about whether Jalen Hurts can truly mature into an NFL-level passer. On defense, the front line is still strong, but the linebacker corps is very weak and there are questions in the secondary, where a number of young defensive backs never quite developed as expected. Best-case scenario: Hurts has a strong year, with Jalen Reagor developing in his second season and DeVonta Smith exploding onto the league as a rookie. Darius Slay has a big season shutting down the opponent’s top receiver, and the quality of the defensive line makes up for questions in the rest of the secondary. Plus, the Eagles finally have good health after a couple of years struggling with injuries. If the Dallas offense and Washington defense don’t produce as advertised, the Eagles then could win the NFC East. [BLG Note: FO has the Giants getting two picks in the first six picks with NYG at No. 4 and the Bears at No. 6.] Eagles Rookie Profile: 6 things to know about Kenny Gainwell - BGN 2) What are his strengths? Versatility is the biggest one. He can run in the trenches, but can also line up out wide and act as a wide receiver. He’s an explosive player who can make a sudden cut to open the field up and gash an opposing defense, and he keeps his pads square to bounce off of tacklers coming from different angles. His balance allows him to make one move after another thanks to quick footwork, and that got him out of a ton of tight jams in 2019. Thoughts on Ryan Kerrigan signing, confidence in Jalen Hurts and more - BGN RadioBrandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski go through a relatively busy week in terms of Eagles news! The guys offer thoughts on the Ryan Kerrigan signing, takeaways from player/coach press conferences, confidence in Jalen Hurts, and much more. Eagles player review: Marcus Epps edition - PhillyVoiceEpps is purely a deep safety, as he’s not going to add much value close to the line of scrimmage, unless he is matched up against a tight end man-to-man in coverage. Even as a deep safety, while he has demonstrated good ball skills on occasion, there were times in which he "bit the cheese,” in which he either committed to an underneath route leaving the deep route open, or took a false step as a result of guessing on a receiver’s route, leaving that receiver open. For some defensive coordinators, he’s an automatic "no” from a roster configuration standpoint, because of his tackling deficiencies. Jim Schwartz, who prioritized coverage safeties over thumpers, was willing to forgive a few missed tackles here and there, but only to a point, and even Epps seemingly got benched by him after a poor tackling performance against the Steelers. Epps is heading into his third year in the NFL, and his ball skills will give him a chance to make the roster, especially since he was drafted by a Mike Zimmer team, and Jonathan Gannon’s scheme will likely have Zimmer influence. Meet the New Guys - Iggles Blitz Gannon talked a lot about flexibility, without using that specific word. He wants to build the scheme around the specific players he has, but needs to get them on the practice field before he’ll really know what he has. He will adjust the scheme based on opponents. You’re going to play differently vs Lamar Jackson than you are Tom Brady. I get a little scared when coaches talk about flexibility too much. You need some foundational principles. Do I want size or speed? Am I running a 1-gap 4-3 or do I want to do something else? I’m guessing Gannon has some foundational ideas, but didn’t want to get too specific with the media. We’ll see what the defense looks like. I did come away impressed with him. He gave good answers, communicated well and made you feel confident in his thinking. I’m really curious to see what he does with the Eagles secondary. His background is with DBs and I felt encouraged after the way he talked about coaching DBs. He’s certainly got his work cut out for him. GamePlan: Why the Jaguars Are Taking a Chance on Tim Tebow, Given the Potential Risk and Reward - Sports Illustrated "So with some [of the opt-outs], you found yourself projecting. … A lot of those guys, I think, lost a half a round or a round. There’s no science or data behind that, but it’s just what you lose not having the playing experience. Generally, you’re going to be better the next year in all categories, and I think that equated in how some guys fell.” Here, then, are a few examples: [...] Eagles QB Jamie Newman: He transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia, then opted out during fall camp, and ended up declaring for the draft, then going undrafted. There are some tools there, but NFL people never saw him like the May and June mock drafters did—and it does make you wonder if thinking he’d be drafted early played a role in his decision to come out. If that’s the case … not a great call. Jonathan Gannon looks to restore the Eagles’ reputation as a team built on defense - Inquirer Zimmer has long been one of the best at disguising. That may have come from scheme, but it also came from allowing players to devise their own system for disguise. "Everyone talks about you want to pressure the quarterback, pressure the quarterback. Well, in my opinion, one of those ways is pre-snap, not post-snap,” Gannon said. "So what you do is ... put a little bit of seed of doubt in that quarterback’s mind, ‘Do I have that guy, or do I not?” Acquiring Harris and Wilson suggests that Roseman and Sirianni understood the importance of equipping Gannon with defenders who not only understand Zimmer’s scheme, but him. Gannon had interviewed with the Bears and Chargers for their coordinator openings, and he was also on Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ radar had he been hired by the Eagles as head coach. Gannon, like Sirianni, is new to his position, and has never called plays. If he has immediate success with the Eagles, though, his stay could be short-lived. He would be a hot commodity to become a head coach. There’s that much buzz around the NFL about his potential. Eagles donate over $330K worth of Gatorade, football equipment - PE.com The Philadelphia Eagles are pleased to announce a donation of more than $330,000 in Gatorade product and football equipment to the Philadelphia Public League. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of youth sports participation and training have changed significantly, impacting thousands of youth athletes across the area. This donation will help support participants of the Philadelphia Public League as they prepare for their fall sports seasons. "The Philadelphia Eagles have always been dedicated to the health, safety, and development of children through a commitment to youth football programming,” said Eagles President Don Smolenski. "While many experiences were taken away from them this past year, these young athletes have been resilient in the face of adversity. We are proud to partner with Gatorade and the Philadelphia Public League to ensure that our youth have the proper nutrition and equipment needed to support a safe and healthy return to sports this fall.” Where do Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott rank as a duo against their counterparts in the NFC East? - Blogging The Boys Dallas is being called the team to beat in the NFC East by oddsmakers, which at the very least will be good enough to host a playoff game in mid-January. Speaking of the league’s most-storied division, it is something that Brandon Gowton and I discuss every week on the NFC East Mixtape, a podcast that you can listen to on both the BGN and BTB podcast feeds. Subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network on Apple devices right here or on Spotify right here. On this week’s episode, BLG and I had Bryan Stabbe from Hogs Haven on to discuss whether the Washington Football Team should be the favorites in the division or whether or not the Cowboys should be ahead of them. We also touched on an interesting idea that BLG has floated out before that has to do with Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott. Eugene Chung says NFL team told him he’s "not the right minority” in job interview - PFT Former NFL player and assistant coach Eugene Chung says he was told in a job interview with an NFL team this offseason that he is "not the right minority” for the league to hire. "It was said to me, ‘Well, you’re really not a minority,’” Chung told the Boston Globe. Chung, an Asian-American whose parents are both Korean, said he challenged the interviewer. "I was like, ‘Wait a minute. The last time I checked, when I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth, I was a minority,’” Chung said. "So I was like, ‘What do you mean I’m not a minority?’ ” The interviewer responded, "You are not the right minority we’re looking for.” 4 teams who should trade for Julio Jones - SB NationMiami Dolphins. This is purely a move that takes into account the fact the Dolphins are rebuilding faster than anyone thought, and at this point they have tremendous draft capital. While Miami did invest a top pick into Jaylen Waddle, and already have DeVante Parker, there’s no reason they shouldn’t get a player like Jones and push the Bills in the AFC East. With that suite of weapons the team should be able to quickly acknowledge whether Tua Tagovailoa is their long-term answer at the position, and it would immediately turn the team into a major playoff contender. 2021 NFL Draft Special #12: Tough Questions About Rookie QBs w/Mark Schofield - The SB Nation NFL ShowMichael Kist and Mark Schofield ask and answer tough questions regarding the rookie class of quarterbacks entering the NFL! https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/22/22448749/eagles-news-football-outsiders-projects-bottom-8-finish-philadelphia-2021-nfl-draft-2022-espn-hurts
  12. 5 things to know about new Eagles cornerback Josiah Scott Michigan State and Jaguars perspective on Philadelphia’s new defensive back. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 20, 2021, 10:11am EDT Ryan O’Bleness of The Only Colors and Big Cat Country contributed to this post. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports The Philadelphia Eagles traded for Josiah Scott earlier this week. Who? In order to learn more about this guy, I reached out to Ryan O’Bleness. Ryan has a unique perspective from covering Scott’s career for both SB Nation’s Michigan State blog, The Only Colors, and SB Nation’s Jacksonville Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country. 1 - Can you take us through his time with Michigan State? And then the Jags? Scott was a bit under-recruited coming out of high school, ranking as the No. 104 cornerback prospect in the 2017 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He didn’t have a ton of Power Five offers outside of Michigan State, Iowa, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia. I think because of this, Scott came to East Lansing with a chip on his shoulder, and what he did was find an immediate starting role as a true freshman, starting in 12 games and earning Freshman All-American honors by ESPN and the Big Ten Network, as well as third-team All-Big Ten honors, after recording 30 total tackles, two interceptions, 12 passes defended and a forced fumble. Scott suffered a preseason injury during his sophomore campaign and missed the first eight games of the 2018 season, but still made five starts and recorded seven pass breakups and two interceptions. In his junior year, and final season at Michigan State, Scott earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after starting in 13 games and recording a career-high 55 total tackles, with 11 passes defended and three picks, as well as a fumble forced and a fumble recovery. Overall, Scott had a strong career for the Spartans and was a big part of a defense that ranked 19th in yardage allowed per game in 2017, ninth in 2018, and 36th in 2019. Those defenses also included current Philadelphia Eagles, Joe Bachie, and Raequan Williams, who Scott will now reunite with in Philly. As for his time in the NFL, Scott was drafted in the fourth round (No. 137 overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020, which I was ecstatic about as a fan of both Michigan State and the Jaguars. Scott played primarily on the outside, often as a boundary cornerback for Michigan State, but the Jaguars mostly used him inside in the slot as a nickel cornerback. He didn’t get a ton of playing time as a rookie, but injuries in the secondary forced him into the lineup for a bit, and he played in 80 defensive snaps in six games. Scott recorded 11 tackles, including 10 solo tackles and one tackle for loss. He allowed six completions on seven targets for 77 yards, and a passer rating of 112.5 when targeted, according to Pro Football Reference. Pro Football Focus gave Scott an overall grade of 46.9 for the 2020 season. 2 - What’s the reaction to the Jags moving on from him? Are people cool with the trade? I think most fans probably didn’t mind the trade, as they either were casual fans who weren’t too familiar with his play, or knew he was just a depth piece in a crowded cornerbacks room that now features Shaquill Griffin, CJ Henderson, Tre Herndon, Sidney Jones, and 2021 second-round draft pick Tyson Campbell, among others. For me, I wasn’t a fan of the move because Scott was the only player on the roster from Michigan State, so I am a little biased when it comes to him, but I knew the writing was on the wall for Scott with the new additions at cornerback, and I wasn’t sure that he was a great scheme fit for new head coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Joe Cullen. The fact that the Jaguars were able to get both a draft pick for him and a player probably makes it a good trade for Jacksonville. 3 - What are his strengths? Entering the league, Scott was well-regarded for his technique and fundamentals as a cornerback. He was a ballhawk in college, and he also played in a variety of coverage techniques that likely helped him adjust to the NFL. He also has good speed with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash time. As I mentioned, he has experience playing outside in college and inside in the NFL, so he has some versatility there. While he is small, he is very much a willing tackler and isn’t afraid to get physical. Scott is also an instinctive player and a competitor through and through. Even though Scott didn’t play much on special teams for the Jaguars last year, he should have some appeal there for the Eagles. 4 - What are his weaknesses? The biggest thing going against Scott is his size, at just 5-foot-9, 185 pounds. His small stature doesn’t deter him from being physical, and he is a solid tackler, but obviously bigger wide receivers are an issue for him and he is going to lose a lot of jump ball situations. This is why he is better suited in the slot in the NFL, as there isn’t much he can do to improve his height. Of course, there are always also going to be durability and strength concerns for a player of his size, too, and may struggle to get off blocks in run support against stronger wide receivers/blockers. The other thing is just lack of experience. He got a solid 80 snaps last year, but that isn’t a whole lot, and he didn’t perform particularly well when given the opportunity. Truth be told, he probably wasn’t quite ready to see meaningful playing time as a rookie and was forced into the lineup early due to injuries. With all of that said, if he is able to find some more playing time, and get more comfortable with the speed of the NFL game, I am confident he can carve out a solid NFL career. 5 - Anything to know about him off the field? (Besides the fact he’s a big Eagles fan, apparently.) As a junior, Scott was a member of Michigan State’s "Eagles Leadership Council,” which was generally a group of 12 players who provided leadership and voices of reason to the team who the younger players can look up to and rely on for help and advice. So he was a player who his Spartan peers really looked up to, and like I said, Scott, has always seemed to have had a chip on his shoulder that drives him to be the best he can be. BLG’s take: Scott could compete for a starting or backup job as the Eagles’ nickel cornerback. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/20/22445508/josiah-scott-eagles-trade-cornerback-nfl-news-jaguars-michigan-state-philadelphia-cb-jacksonville
  13. Eagles Rookie Profile: 6 things to know about Zech McPhearson Get to know Philly’s new cornerback. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 18, 2021, 8:08am EDT Reed Meason of Viva The Matadors contributed to this post. Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images The Philadelphia Eagles took longer than some would’ve liked to see the team address their cornerback position in the 2021 NFL Draft. But they finally selected one in the fourth round by nabbing Zech McPhearson. In order to learn more about the Eagles’ new defensive back, I reached out to SB Nation’s Texas Tech blog: Viva The Matadors. Red Raiders writer Reed Meason, who actually worked in the team’s equipment department and has previously spoken with McPhearson, was kind enough to answer my questions. 1) Can you recap his college career? In terms of his time at Penn State, I don’t know a whole lot about him. I think he played some but I believe he was a little buried on the depth chart and was part of the reason he ended up at Tech. But once he ended up in Lubbock, he was a starter basically from day one. If you don’t know, Tech has been well known for not having a good secondary, especially recently. Zech was one of the lone bright spots within that unit. He made a huge jump from year 1 to year 2. From flashes of good plays the first time around, he jumped to an all-conference level this past season. 2) What are his strengths? His strengths can visibly be seen in his pro day results. He’s got good speed (4.53 in the 40), he’s incredibly athletic (41-inch veritical & 130-inch broad jump) and he’s agile/quick on his feet (4.00 shuttle run). Towards the end of the season, you could tell he made smart plays. His worst game of the season came against Houston Baptist in the first game of the year. He was burned by probably 3-4 times quite badly. From then on, he was nearly exceptional with both man and zone coverages, coming away with a lot of big plays for our defense. 3) What are his weaknesses? I believe his weaknesses are mainly physical attributes. He lacks a little bit of height at 5’11 and possibly some weight at 190lbs. If he were to add 5-12lbs I think it would help him compete more in the long run for the NFL. Though he can play zone and man, there are times he looked more comfortable in zone where he wasn’t on an island with a receiver. When we played the Tylan Wallace’s and CeeDee Lamb’s of the Big 12, he typically wasn’t the guy lined up with them due to size. 4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right? I think he was chosen at about the right time. Had he been 6’1+ and put those pro day numbers up I’m sure he would have gone earlier, but in reality, it was a pretty true time for him to go. 5) How do you see his NFL career playing out? I’m not really sure honestly. I don’t know the Eagles secondary depth that well so it’s hard for me to tell. I’m sure he’ll find his way to special teams at some point just purely off speed and athleticism. I could see him getting consistent playing time eventually, but I don’t see that being any time soon. Probably at least 3 seasons before he has a true shot at a spot if he gains size and impresses the coaching staff. 6) Anything to know about him off the field? I don’t know him personally that well, just some casual convos at practice and games. But he was always a very well-mannered and cool dude. He was friends with everybody and never did anything stupid to have him in trouble with the staff. He wasn’t a guy that made a big scene out of anything. Just put his nose down, worked hard, and didn’t complain about it. BLG’s take: The Eagles still might sign or trade for a cornerback with starting experience. If they don’t, McPhearson doesn’t lack a path to finding playing time as a rookie. Banking on a fourth-round pick to be a quality starter at CB2 doesn’t feel like the greatest bet but maybe Z McP will impress this summer. He’ll be an interesting player to watch during training camp and the preseason. At the very least, he figures to provide depth and contribute on special teams. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/18/22441700/zech-mcphearson-eagles-cornerback-rookie-profile-texas-tech-red-raiders-philadelphia-nfl-draft-2021?fbclid=IwAR0Oz3nfaM4LUYMPkgJCNUapRdThLVl7syZV1HgFYJQcYPluJpCnLxKlCRQ
  14. Washington Football Team fans are very annoyed to see Ryan Kerrigan joining the Eagles By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 17, 2021, 3:46pm EDT Andrew York of Hogs Haven contributed to this post. Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images The Philadelphia Eagles made an unexpected addition to their defense on Monday morning by officially signing long-time NFC East nemesis Ryan Kerrigan. Eagles fans are already familiar with Kerrigan, of course, but I still thought it worthwhile to reach out to Hogs Haven to get a Washington Football Team perspective on this development. The amazing Andrew York was kind enough to quickly answer my questions. Check out the exchange below. 1 - Eagles fans obviously know Kerrigan all too well but can you sum up the entirety of his career from a Washington perspective? The short summary is: great guy, great teammate, consistently productive on the field, never misses a game, criminally overlooked by national media because of the team he played on. Hogs Haven published this article a while ago showing his career stats compare very favorably to Von Miller and Khalil Mack, even though most people don’t talk about him on the same level. I’ll admit, I don’t think he was ever as dominant at his peak as those other two players (he can get stonewalled by the NFL’s best offensive tackles), but he makes up for it by being consistent, being available (2019 was his first year missing a game due to injury), and absolutely bullying lesser tackles. He was also a bit miscast as a 3-4 OLB for most of his time in Washington; he’s more natural as a 4-3 DE without coverage responsibility, and I think he’d have been even more productive if allowed to play in the correct role. From a fan point of view, he was also the only consistent bright spot on Washington’s roster for the past 10 years or so. For a long time, it was really just him and Trent Williams that fans could point to and say "these are our great players, year in and year out.” After the team’s messy divorce with Trent, it was just Kerrigan. Ryan Kerrigan is destined for Washington’s Ring of Honor when he retires, I can’t think of a more deserving player over the last decade. 2 - Before recently announcing his departure, what percent chance did you think Kerrigan would return to Washington in 2021? Do you think he *should* have been re-signed? On the one hand, I thought he should be re-signed because he still has something to give, but on the other hand, I agree with Rivera’s seeming plan of building a youth movement and a team that is designed to peak next year or the year after. I would have given Kerrigan’s chances of returning at about 25% before, based on comments by Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew that they really wanted to get younger at the position. 3 - On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most annoyed), how annoying is it for Washington fans that Kerrigan signed with the Eagles? And how would you feel if he won a Super Bowl ring with Philly? (Evil question, I know.) It’s a 10 level of annoyance, for sure. He’s one of our most beloved players, so watching him go to a division rival sucks. On the other hand, we’ll still get to watch him beat up on the Cowboys and Giants twice a season, so it’s not all bad. If he won a Super Bowl with Philly, I’d really just be shocked that he was able to continue playing for the 10+ years and major front office changes it would take to get there. Given that, I’d be happy for him. [BLG Note: Well played.] 4 - What all went into Kerrigan seeing a decreased role last year and to what extent does he have gas left in the tank? It was a combination of having exceptionally talented players in Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the same position along with Rivera’s seeming desire to get younger all over the roster. Kerrigan has said he wants to be a starter in 2021 and that’s not going to happen in Washington. I think Kerrigan is past his prime and on the decline but is still worthy of starting on many NFL teams and is probably an average DE at this point in his career. He was able to generate 5.5 sacks while playing only 38% of the defensive snaps last year, so he still has gas left in the tank. I think he’s best used primarily as a pass rusher in a heavy rotation to keep him fresh. He doesn’t seem to be quite as physical as he once was, so it might make sense to use him less against the run. 5 - Kerrigan’s been lauded for his locker room value in addition to his on-field talent. Can you speak to his leadership qualities? Any notable examples? He’s always been more of a leader by example rather than a vocal leader. I think that might also be one of the reasons Rivera let him go, as Rivera only seems to be prioritizing older veterans if they are vocal leaders. Kerrigan is a quiet, hard-working guy who produces on the field and doesn’t say much without prompting, but will help or mentor anyone who asks. Chase Young has said Kerrigan acted like a big brother to him despite Young clearly being drafted to take his place, which is something Young respects and appreciates. In addition to mentoring on the field, players have been known to ask his advice about how to stay healthy, which Kerrigan freely shares. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/17/22440851/ryan-kerrigan-washington-football-team-fans-eagles-philadelphia-nfc-east-strengths-weaknesses-news
  15. Darius Slay is changing his jersey number The Eagles’ top cornerback will have a new look moving forward. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton May 1, 2021, 10:30am EDT Darius Slay is taking advantage of the NFL loosening their jersey number restrictions. The Philadelphia Eagles cornerback will no longer be wearing No. 24 and instead will be sporting the No. 2 jersey moving forward. John Clark reports Slay confirmed as much to him. Cody Benjamin was first to note on Friday evening that NFL Shop was selling No. 2 Slay jerseys. Slay previously expressed his interest in switching to No. 2 on Twitter. Miles Sanders also had an interest in that number but the veteran clearly won out. Slay has a history with No. 2; he wore it when he played junior college football at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Mississippi. A nice homage to his path up to the NFL. No. 2 was previously owned by Jalen Hurts, who switched to No. 1 this offseason. Our #JerseyNumberAnalytics model here at BGN indicates No. 2 is an OK number for Slay but No. 24 was already a strong look. It’s definitely going to be different seeing a single-digit player at cornerback. It’ll be interesting seeing No. 2 and No. 6 (DeVonta Smith) going up against each other in practice. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/1/22414012/darius-slay-jersey-number-change-2-24-philadelphia-cornerback-news-uniform-college-nfl
  16. Undrafted Free Agent Signings Tracker Tracking all the UDFA rookie news and rumors. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Updated May 1, 2021, 10:48pm EDT Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports The 2021 NFL Draft is over! Now it’s time for undrafted free agency. All of the draft-eligible players who were not picked are now free to sign with any team. Feel free to use this post as an open thread for the next few hours as there will be some reports surfacing regarding the Eagles‘ 2021 undrafted free agent signings. We’ll use this post to track all of UDFA news and rumors. Check back often for updates. Do note that all of these reports are not necessarily official. Things can change and sometimes rookie minicamp tryouts get reported as UDFA signings. Still, this tracker should give us a good idea of which longshot players the Eagles will ultimately add to their roster. It didn’t take long for the Eagles to officially confirm their UDFA signings last year. It’s taken a bit longer in previous years, so we’ll see how this goes. Regardless, we’ll have scouting reports of these UDFAs up in the near future. Players who reportedly signed with the Eagles Buffalo OG Kayode Awosika Nebraska TE Jack Stroll Indiana C Harry Crider Iowa State DE Jaquan Bailey Georgia QB Jamie Newman Texas A&M Jhamon Ausbon Florida WR Trevon Grimes Quick thoughts Newman is an intriguing add. He was No. 174 on PFF’s top 300 big board. The Eagles only had Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco under contract so Newman is automatically QB3. Ausbon overlapped with Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead in 2017. Grimes is a big target at 6’4”, 218 pounds. He has familiarity with Eagles quarterbacks coach and former Gators OC/QB coach Brian Johnson. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/5/1/22414908/undrafted-free-agent-signings-tracker-nfl-draft-2021-news-rumors-players-udfa-eagles-rookies-updates
  17. Eagles News: 2 of 36 Howie Roseman draft picks since 2016 have started 16 games in a season Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/28/21. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Apr 28, 2021, 7:23am EDT Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... A revealing moment in Roseman’s presser and more in Roob’s Eagles observations - NBCSP 10. Since Roseman was restored to power as GM in 2016, the Eagles have drafted 36 players. Only two of the 36 have started 16 games in a season: Carson Wentz in 2016 and 2019 and Isaac Seumalo in 2019. NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles "love” Kwity Paye and "it’s possible” he’s the pick at No. 12 - BGN For some, the realistic worst-case scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round pick involves the team taking Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye at No. 12. If you’re among his skeptics, well, you’re not going to enjoy the latest rumor leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network says the Eagles "love” Paye and it is indeed possible he’s Philly’s first-round pick. As with any draft rumor, we must take this information with a grain of salt. But it’s not like Pauline is without legitimate sources. He used to have a role working for the Eagles’ official website. He was also all over some major Eagles news stories in the past. Examples include but aren’t necessarily limited to them signing Byron Maxwell in 2015, them re-signing Brandon Graham in 2019, and Doug Pederson being frustrated in Philly. UPDATE: Pauline also nailed the Eagles taking Jalen Reagor last year: Final Eagles 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Drafts! - BGN Radio Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski make one last attempt at predicting how the Eagles’ 2021 draft might play out. The guys are joined by special guest Dan Klausner, who joins the panel to judge who made the best picks and give extra insight on discussed prospects. Final Eagles-only 2021 seven-round mock draft - PhillyVoiceDeVonta Smith could have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft, but he stayed in school for his senior season, which turned out to be a wise move, as he’s now in position to be a top 12 pick in the 2021 draft. In 2020, Smith had a monster season. I mean, obviously. He was the Heisman trophy winner. On the season, he had 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 TDs. He also had a 21.5 yards per return average on 11 punt returns, including a TD. Smith is a smooth route runner, he gobbles up yards after the catch, he has great hands, and he can make spectacular catches in traffic. The concern that teams are going to have about Smith is his lack of size, at a rail-thin 166 pounds. Can he beat jams at the line of scrimmage against big, physical corners? Can he be durable? Certainly, he plays much bigger than his slight frame, as you can see here. Don’t overthink it. Just take the guy that consistently cooked SEC defensive backs over the last three years. Eagles Mock 3.0 - Iggles Blitz 1 – CB DeVonta Smith – Alabama – 6-0, 166. Smith is my favorite college player from the 2020 season. He posted gaudy statistics and the game tape was equally impressive. Whatever Smith did, he did well. Good receiver. Good blocker. Good on special teams coverage. Good punt returner. Smith lacks ideal size, to put it mildly. He’s not a dynamic athlete. What he is…a damn good football player. He is a smooth route runner who knows how to get open. He has great hands and incredible body control. Smith combines ability, skill, brains and an ultra-competitive spirit. Smith would be a terrific addition to the Eagles receiving corps. Beyond that, he’s also the kind of guy you want when you’re trying to turn a team around. He is the kind of foundational player that a new coaching staff wants to work with. Would Philadelphia Eagles trade up for Justin Fields in 2021 NFL draft? - ESPN But there seems to be a growing sense around the league that all five of the top QBs — Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Alabama’s Mac Jones, Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance — will be drafted within the first eight picks, meaning the Eagles would have to trade back into the top 10, a month after moving from No. 6 to 12 overall in a deal with the Miami Dolphins that netted a future first-round pick. It’s possible they move back up at a lesser price — call it a second-rounder — and secure a coveted player while holding onto that newly acquired first-round pick. But the initial move back is not the kind of behavior teams typically exhibit when pursuing a franchise quarterback, because it increases the risk of missing out on the prospect. If the Eagles were hot after Fields, I don’t think they would have moved out of the six hole just to improve their overall draft stock. 50 years later, Harold Carmichael celebrates a humble NFL Draft story and a Hall of Fame career - PE.com It all kind of comes full circle for Harold Carmichael in 2021, and maybe that’s a harbinger of great things to come for the Philadelphia Eagles. Selected in the seventh round (161st overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft (50 years ago!), Carmichael is prepping, finally, for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He received his Hall of Fame jacket recently, fighting back tears of joy as he opened the package and tried it on and, just like his life, the jacket was a perfect fit. "It was so exciting. I know I fumbled around with it, but I was so nervous, shaking because it was such an exciting time for me,” Carmichael said. "They texted us and let us know we were going to get our jackets, but mine took a little longer to arrive than everybody else’s. Again, patience. Eagles sign LifeBrand as Draft room sponsor - Sports Business Journal The Eagles will have a sponsor name attached to their war room during the NFL Draft starting Thursday, part of a new long-term deal signed this week with Philadelphia-area tech startup LifeBrand. Eagles GM Howie Roseman and coach Nick Sirianni will pick their players from the "Draft Room ... Playing the odds: Examining the pros, cons of some of the most likely picks for Giants at No. 11 - Big Blue View I do think that two things are possible. First, DeVonta Smith might slide a bit on Thursday night. Why? The profile of a 166-pound NFL wide receiver is not one that will give NFL general managers the warm and fuzzies. You are betting on a true outlier, and that is something that NFL decision makers often try and avoid in the top of the first round. So there is a chance Smith will be on the board when the Giants are on the clock, whether they stay at 11 or even if they slide back a few spots with a willing trading partner trying to come up for a quarterback. But while I think the scheme fit is right, and that Smith can be that kind of true outlier given his footwork and ability to consistently separate from SEC cornerbacks, you need to ask yourself whether Dave Gettleman is the kind of general manager to go in on such a potential outlier. Does Gettleman seem like the kind of GM who will draft a WR of Smith’s size profile? I think it is possible, but not to the point that I would put my own money at risk. Debating whether Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn the better choice for the Cowboys - Blogging The Boys The 2021 NFL draft is only a few days away, and everyone seems to more or less know what the Cowboys are going to do with their tenth overall pick. It’s become increasingly likely that, barring another great prospect falling to Dallas, the pick will be a cornerback. But the debate is between Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. The general consensus among lead draft experts is that Surtain is the better player, but there’s a significant contingent of people who prefer Horn. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts seems to be in that contingent, recently telling the Cowboys that Horn is the toughest player he faced this past season Washington swapping late round picks with Miami to bring Ereck Flowers back - Hogs Haven This moves gives them another guard who can start for them this year, and next season when Brandon Scherff likely hits free agency. Or a replacement if Scherff were to get traded. It also gives them more flexibility in the draft. Players like OT Alijah Vera-Tucker have been linked to Washington, but he is projected to play guard in the NFL by a lot of people. Washington now has a lot of players to compete at guard, but is still likely looking for depth or an upgrade at LT. Trades could be fewer than usual in 2021 NFL Draft’s first round - NFL.com Not to crush anyone’s hopes or anything, but we might not see quite as much transactional activity on Thursday night. There isn’t as much trade activity as is usual just two days ahead of the draft, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. There’s a good reason for it, too: This class just might not be as rich in elite-level talent at the top. "At the risk of ending up on Old Takes Exposed, it doesn’t seem like there’s as much trade activity right now as there usually is,” Rapoport said during Tuesday’s edition of NFL Total Access. "Now, depending on which quarterbacks are available in the top 10, I would expect there to be at least serious discussion about trading up for one quarterback in the top 10 just based on who probably is taken and where that quarterback ends up going. Absent that, I just don’t hear a ton of trade chatter. These are the 7 NFL Draft sleepers to watch - SB Nation The draft projection for Christian Barmore has always been difficult to hammer down. He has rare physical tools defensive coordinators will salivate over, but too often forgets his fundamentals. We’re left with a player who won at the point of attack by being the biggest, most athletic guy on the defensive line, but that edge will evaporate when he hits the NFL and opposing linemen can’t be pushed around as easily. We’re left with a boom or bust prospect, but that’s still a nice upside play for a playoff team in the late 20s or into the second round. I understand arguments why Barmore isn’t worth a top 15 pick, but let’s not pretend the idea of the boom or bust isn’t something that’s played out 100 times before in the NFL Draft, with these guys often going in the Top 10 on potential alone. You simply don’t find 6’4, 310 pound guys with Barmore’s quickness. It will allow him to play multiple positions along the line, and if he lands in the right spot with coaches in place who can put him on the right path to leveraging his fundamentals, well, we could see a three-down defensive player who is a consistent nightmare to deal with. 2021 NFL Draft Community Row: The State of Each NFC Division - The SB Nation NFL Show RJ Ochoa & Rob "Stats” Guerrera set the state of each NFC division before the 2021 NFL Draft w/special guests Robert Schmitz of Windy City Gridiron and David Walker of The Falcoholic! https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/4/28/22407324/eagles-news-howie-roseman-draft-picks-2016-started-16-games-season-philadelphia-general-manager-gm
  18. NFL Draft Rumors: Some teams believe Eagles are trying to trade up for Jaylen Waddle Philly might favor the ‘other’ Alabama wide receiver. By Brandon Lee Gowton@BrandonGowton Apr 28, 2021, 4:51pm EDT Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images We’ve heard all kinds of conflicting rumors about what the Philadelphia Eagles are going to do in the 2021 NFL Draft. Such is par for the course for this time of year. The latest entry in the rumor mill comes from ESPN. Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler are reporting that some teams believe the Eagles are looking to move into the top 10 for an Alabama wide receiver. But, no, not DeVonta Smith. Instead, Jaylen Waddle. Bold emphasis below is mine: For what it’s worth, this rumor jibes with some other things we’ve previously heard. It matches up with The Athletic report that the Birds are "exploring a move into the top 10” and Tim McManus saying "it feels like there’s another shoe yet to drop” while discussing the Eagles potentially moving up from No. 12. This rumor also syncs with Albert Breer recently writing "more than a couple people I talked to connected the Eagles to Bama dynamo Jaylen Waddle.” It’s not hard to believe the Eagles could be interested in Waddle. There are some who believe he’s WR1 in this year’s class. Some recent mocks have him going as high as No. 6 to the Miami Dolphins. I find it hard to believe the Eagles are wont to make a big move up after trading down to No. 12. But a jump up to the No. 9 could be within reason. According to the draft pick value chart, all it should take is the Eagles surrendering one of their two third-round selections. Of course, that chart doesn’t necessarily dictate the actual price it could take. The Denver Broncos could be a willing partner at No. 9, though. Trading for Teddy Bridgewater on Wednesday afternoon might be a sign they don’t expect a quarterback to be there for them. So, what do you think? Is a trade up for Waddle worth it? I don’t love the risk, personally. Especially if it means taking him over Smith. https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2021/4/28/22408351/nfl-draft-rumors-eagles-jaylen-waddle-alabama-wide-receiver-2021-trade-up-broncos-pick-buzz-wr
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