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  1. Seth Joyner to leave 'Eagles Postgame Live' on NBC Sports Philadelphia The former linebacker's exit comes after the retirement of Ray Didinger, leaving two openings on the show BY MICHAEL TANENBAUM PhillyVoice Staff NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA/YOUTUBE Both Seth Joyner and Ray Didinger will not return to NBC Sports Philadelphia for Eagles pregame and postgame coverage during the 2022-23 NFL season. Eagles pregame and postgame analysis will have a very different look on NBC Sports Philadelphia for the upcoming NFL season, as Seth Joyner announced Monday he'll be leaving the network. Joyner, the former All-Pro linebacker for the Eagles, talked about his decision to leave during his own podcast. His departure follows the retirement of Ray Didinger last month, meaning half the crew on "Eagles Postgame Live" will be new come September. "Sometimes things run their course, and it's time, you know?" Joyner said. "My man, Ray Diddy, called it a career and it's hard to replicate and duplicate the kind of chemistry and camaraderie that we had." Joyner has been a brutally honest and sometimes harsh critic on the show, voicing fans' frustrations with earned credibility and a deep knowledge of the game. He's right when he says that his chemistry with Didinger was a major draw. It would have been difficult to recreate even if Joyner chose to stay. Instead, Joyner is taking on a new role that has yet to be announced. "Don't worry. Information will flow in the next couple of weeks," Joyner said. "It's not like you're not going to be able to hear my commentary. Another situation arose and created an opportunity for me to do something different." For the moment, the network has Michael Barkann and Barrett Brooks slated to handle pre- and post-game duties, with some huge shoes to fill. Even going back to former Gov. Ed Rendell's time on "Eagles Postgame Live," Didinger was always the fulcrum of the show. You'd see the gears turning in his head as he listened to his colleagues and scanned his notes. Then the deep breath. And finally, he'd dissect the team's performance (and the opponent's) as only he can. Joyner's authority brought extra punch to the show, since it's nice to have a former player and a non-player with a great football mind there to balance each other's strengths. The good news for NBC Sports Philadelphia is that the Eagles' rising outlook this season should help make these openings especially attractive. Another former Eagle and a respected analyst would do the trick. The answers are anybody's guess, for the time being. Trent Cole lives in South Jersey and has had five years away from the game. He might need to be convinced to take a break from grain farming on Sundays. https://www.phillyvoice.com/seth-joyner-leaving-eagles-postgame-live-nbc-sports-philadelphia/
  2. Mailbag: Could the Eagles use rookie DT Jordan Davis at times on offense? BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff BILL STREICHER/USA TODAY SPORTS Get this man at least one carry in 2022. On Wednesday, I solicited mailbag questions on Twitter for a mailbag post. I received so many good questions that we published a mailbag post on Thursday as well as another one today. Here's Part II, and as always, thanks again for doing half the work for me, friends. Question from Patrick: Could you imagine a goal line situation where Jordan Davis gets a carry? Davis was actually something of a regular in Georgia's goal line offense. Here he is at TE (right next to the LT) caving this poor DE down the line and opening up a massive hole for a TD: And that wasn't just a gimmicky usage against some overmatched team. Here he is against Alabama playing TE and once again helping open up a hole for a TD. (CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE TO VIEW VIDEO) If the Eagles lined up Davis, Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson on the left side of the line in goal line situations, it would be over a thousand pounds of steamrolling nastiness. And finally, here Georgia lines up Davis at TE before shifting pre-snap and handing the ball to the big guy for a TD. Both Doug Pederson and Nick Sirianni have been asked in the past about the possibility of giving the ball to Mailata in a goal line situation, given Mailata's ball-carrying experience playing rugby, and they both sort of laughed it off. But with Davis, I do see the benefit of playing him at tight end in goal line packages. He'd be more effective in there than, say, Andre Dillard, in my opinion, because he (a) would be more aggressive, and (b) can actually move linemen against their will. Yes, I'm saying that I think Davis would be a better goal line run blocker than a former first-round offensive tackle. And as long as he's in there on occasion in those packages, yeah, why not get him a TD in a blowout like the Eagles did a year ago with Lane Johnson. Question from Ben's Dad, the Illuminator: If the Eagles are going to be mixing in more odd-man fronts on a regular basis, what does the base personnel for that look like? Davis as the nose tackle? Reddick on the line? In odd-man fronts, I think the Eagles have a lot of versatile guys who can play all three spots, but primarily the noses would be Javon Hargrave and Davis, with Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, and even Brandon Graham playing more of a "3-4 DE role," generically speaking. I think the more interesting possibilities involve what they can do at linebacker. In traditional 3-4 looks (don't know how much we'll see of that, really), I think it's pretty straightforward. The edge rushers would be Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Graham, Derek Barnett, with two of Kyzir White, Nakobe Dean, and T.J. Edwards at ILB. It's the 3-3-5 looks that could be fun from a personnel perspective. You could see packages with the top three off-ball linebackers (White/Dean/Edwards) all on the field together. I think a 3-3-5 is also a look where you could see Haason Reddick on the field instead of one of the off-ball LBs, rushing the passer from a variety of alignments. Or perhaps Reddick and Josh Sweat both on the field, forming almost sort a 5-1-5 look. There are no shortage of possibilities. The additions of Reddick, Davis, Dean and White give Jonathan Gannon the opportunity to be more creative in confusing opposing quarterbacks than he did a year ago. Question from :0: Is Nick Sirianni on a short leash, or anyone within his coaching staff? For the first time in a long time, the Eagles kept the entirety of the coaching staff together. Sirianni had his bumps in the road as a rookie head coach, but ultimately, there was a lot more good than bad. I don't think his seat is warm. I do think Jonathan Gannon has to show significantly better results this season, again, with the additions of Reddick, Davis, Dean, White, James Bradberry, and we can probably even throw Graham in there as well. Question from Sam Becker: I enjoyed your revisiting of the 2022 and 2017 rosters. My question concerns growth. We keep talking about how much Hurts will grow one year to the next. How about coaches? How much growth should we expect from Nick and how do we measure it? When Jeffrey Lurie introduced Sirianni as the team's new head coach during the Sirianni's initial press conference, he cited "what coach he can become and what organization we can become with his leadership." Lurie seemed well aware that there would be bumps in the road initially, which proved to be prophetic. Credit Sirianni for weathering those early bumps in a hardcore football city and improving as a head coach as the season progressed. It will be interesting to see how he evolves from Year 1 to Year 2. I think there are tangible and intangible ways to measure his growth. There's no shortage of stats to measure the offense's efficiency, whether that's DVOA, EPA/play, success percentage, etc. Those are the tangible metrics. The intangibles are a little more subjective. Is he putting his players in the best positions to succeed, based on their skill sets? Are his game plans logical? Is he making the necessary in-game and in-season adjustments? As for 2022 Sirianni vs. 2017 Doug Pederson, the edge has to go to Pederson, who was an absolute stud that season from start to finish. The Eagles gained 74 points on the season as a result of Pederson going for it on fourth down, a hyper-aggressive approach that has changed how the leagues views "go for it" decisions. He was as unpredictable a play caller as there was in the NFL in 2017, which made his offense incredibly difficult to defend. He was masterful in the usage of his offensive personnel in 2017, accentuating the individual skill sets of his players. With the help of Frank Reich and John DeFilippo, often had games won before they even began because of game planning. When they played the Broncos that season, for example, the way the Eagles used Von Miller against himself was brilliant, and obviously we all saw how the Eagles had a great plan for the Patriots in the Super Bowl, which was executed to near perfection by his players. He pushed all the right buttons in terms of managing varying player personalities. Pederson didn't maintain that extremely high level of coaching in subsequent years, but that one season was one of the best coaching performances Philadelphia has ever seen. Question from Fritz Green: [If Gannon isn't the defensive coordinator next year], who replaces him? Are they grooming Nick Rallis? I don't know if this will remain the thinking next year if a change is necessary, but my understanding is that if Gannon had gotten a head coaching job this offseason, the Eagles would have strongly leaned toward promoting from within, with Dennard Wilson being a strong candidate. Question from Mid Major Matt (asked a few days ago): If you had to guess, what FA safety will Howie sign or trade for to fix that position? I think they’ll sign Jaquiski Tartt. OK, but seriously though, I got some questions why I don’t have Tartt starting on my Eagles depth chart. It’s because he’s a 30-year-old, oft-injured box safety who doesn’t really fit the scheme as a traditional centerfielder type, who was still available in June and almost certainly signed a low-cost, one-year deal. I think he’s a third safety, at best, and if you’re of the opinion that safety is a position the Eagles needed to address between now and the start of the regular season, I would view this move as a disappointment, at least if there are no further moves forthcoming. The team itself certainly didn’t announce this move with much enthusiasm. Question from The Reverend Reiderson: Top 3 road game destinations you’re looking forward to this season. The top two are Arizona and Chicago, and then there's a big dropoff after that. I was hoping to get Chicago early in the season, and Arizona late, but it wasn't to be. I'll just go ahead and rank all eight: 1) Cardinals: Sedona is a little more than an hour up the road. I'm a big fan, and will probably stay an extra day and go hiking or something. If not, at a minimum, I'll look for a Phoenix hotel with a decent enough pool. 2) Bears: Warm Chicago is a lot more fun than cold Chicago, but it's an easy enough flight and a fun city regardless. The walk through the park to Soldier Field from the Chicago Hilton is a fun experience. 3) Colts: I spend a few days every year at the NFL Combine in Indy, so I know it well by now, and the entire downtown area is walkable. I know where I like to stay, where to eat, etc., and there's something to be said for familiarity. 4) Giants: Basically a home game. When this game is in primetime the drive home really sucks, but a 1:00 p.m. kickoff works. 5) Texans: After this trip is complete I will have covered a game in every NFL city, but I've never been to Houston, so I have no first-hand opinion of it. TBD. 6) Lions: Detroit isn't as bad as it's made out to be, but this is strictly a business trip whenever the Eagles play there — fly in late Saturday night, work all day on Sunday, out of there early Monday morning. 7) Commanders: Everything about game day in Landover, MD is bad. I do like getting it over with early in the season, so a Week 3 road game here isn't terrible. 8 ) Cowboys: The food spread puts most wedding reception spreads to shame, and the game is almost always high stakes in the NFC East, which gives it added juice from a football perspective. The city of Dallas is fun, or so say some of the other beats who stay there. I don't. It's too far out of the way from the stadium (in Arlington), and thus inefficient, time-wise, especially for a game that is usually in primetime. It's not uncommon to cover this game, get back to your hotel at like 2:00 a.m., and then you're getting two or three hours of sleep before getting up and heading back to the airport. I usually wind up staying in no-frills hotels in Bedford, Euless, or Grand Prairie, allowing for easy transportation via Uber to and from the game, as well as to and from the airport. I would normally have the Cowboys much higher on the list (maybe as high as third?), but this year the game is on Christmas Eve, which wrecks any plans to watch my daughter open her presents on Christmas morning. https://www.phillyvoice.com/mailbag-could-eagles-use-jordan-davis-times-offense/
  3. John McMullen: Nick Sirianni is walking a tightrope this offseason BY JOHN MCMULLEN PhillyVoice Contributor KATE FRESE/FOR PHILLYVOICE Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni. The Eagles' spring was light when it came to on-field work and Nick Sirianni was asked more than once to explain the delicate balancing act he has to perform when it comes to player safety vs. substantive preparation. As difficult as it will be to close the gap between his team and Dallas, never mind the LA Rams, Tampa Bay, and Green Bay in the NFC, the real trick for the Eagles' coach has been keeping himself on an even keel for what is an organizational decision to leave meat on the bone when it comes to practice time. NFL reporters will tell you that we've yet to meet the coach who doesn't want to practice and Sirianni isn't the outlier to that sentiment. And yet his team essentially left over 50 percent of available grass time on the table in an already scaled-back environment due to collective bargaining. It’s curious, to say the least, and it makes you start to wonder if there is any value to the spring version of NFL football, at least in the minds of the Philadelphia brass. The cost-benefit analysis around the NFL, according to a former head coach, boils down to the thought you can't prepare like you want anyway, so why not get to Week 1 as healthy as possible? The Eagles have taken that theory and run with it to a greater degree than anyone else to date. "It's always about the players' health," Sirianni said last week. The tricky part is figuring out whether this is dictated from above Sirianni’s pay grade and whether the coach is completely on board with what's being advised. The truth lies where it usually does when given the option of extremes – somewhere in the middle. Sirianni wants to practice but he also turns 41 on Wednesday and is a forward-thinking younger mentor who understands success in modern coaching often boils down to getting the maximum out of the setup you’re given. In other words, it’s fine to wax nostalgic about two-a-days but the minute you’re not visualizing ways to stay ahead of the pack, you’ve already started falling behind. "There's also got to be a point of yes, I am hearing the trainers, I'm hearing the strength staff and our sports science department, I'm hearing the doctors," said Sirianni. "They're the experts in the yardage of how much guys have run, the timing of this day is a longer day, then this day is a shorter day, then this day is a longer day. "I didn't go to school for that. I went to school to be an education major, but I was really preparing to be a football coach. That's what my coach was preparing me to do." Sirianni is also where he is in his career, a second-year head coach who doesn't have the same cachet as a Bill Belichick or Andy Reid. Although Sirianni is a good soldier, it's hard to imagine the young coach playing quite as well with others when the resume gets a little larger and his power grows. If you pluck Eagles chief medical officer Arsh Dhanota, who is considered a star by the most important people in the NovaCare Complex, and place him down in New England or Kansas City the doctor would likely offer the same advice but get a different result. We are now officially out of Howie Roseman season and back to Sirianni SZN so it's the coach who has to walk the tightrope when it comes to being the face and voice of the organization. To his credit, Sirianni has come a long way from his opening press conference and is now comfortable in his own skin and capable of spinning things toward his strengths as a coach: the forward-thinking mentor who utilizes what's allowed in the best way possible. Sirianni looked at the limitations of his schedule and attempted to maximize his time by stressing technique and fundamentals. "As we looked at all the different years that we've had, even when I go back to my days as a coordinator with the Colts, even when it was 11-on-11, it was a passing drill," Sirianni explained. "What happens there sometimes is you get these big dudes out there and you're like, all right, we're not going real hard. "... good luck telling Jason Kelce we're not going real hard or Fletcher Cox or any of those guys. So, we just took them out of it and we were able to go full speed [in 7-on-7s]." To Sirianni's point, it's hard to practice physicality when you're not permitted to be physical by rule so the Eagles have re-imagined spring work. "When you have a [practice] where you have five or six periods of team periods, well, naturally your individual period time is going to shrink," Sirianni said. "We were able to have 35 minutes [last Wednesday] of individual time of perfecting our fundamentals.” When the margin between winning and losing is as razor-thin as it can be in the NFL, sound technique is often the difference. "Let's just say Detroit [ in Week 1]. Detroit is going to call a good play, we're going to call a good play. Our receiver is going to be really good, and their DB [defensive back] is going to be really good. Well, what gives in a scenario like that?" Sirianni asked rhetorically before answering "fundamentals." "We've had these long periods of individual [work] where we're perfecting our fundamentals,” the coach continued. "You go fundamentals, then you work it into team [periods] and then you go here. So great, the offseason program we had a ton of fundamentals work, which is going to put us in a position to have more team periods when we get into training camp." Player development is real in the NFL and teaching the fundamentals is where the coaching staff comes into the equation. Behind butting heads over autonomy, the move away from Doug Pederson from the Eagles’ perspective had to do with "coaching the coaching staff,” something the organization feels is a strength of Sirianni. "One of my criteria was that [the coaches] better be good at teaching the fundamentals," Sirianni said. "Not everybody has to be a phenomenal schemer, but everybody that's coaching a position has to be good at the fundamentals so we can take a player from here to here [hand signals indicating an upward trajectory]. "We can take a player to a different level that they can't reach on their own." https://www.phillyvoice.com/john-mcmullen-nick-sirianni-eagles-otas-minicamp-practices-training-camp-coaching-philosophy/
  4. Eagles rookie NFL player comparisons: Nakobe Dean BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff BRETT DAVIS/USA TODAY SPORTS Nakobe Dean As we do every offseason, we'll be comparing each of the Philadelphia Eagles' rookies to current or former NFL players. Today we'll find a comp for third-round linebacker Nakobe Dean. First, who did Dean say he patterned his game after? "I don’t feel like I compare myself to nobody. The people that I do watch – I’m a fan of football, so I do watch football, I do watch linebackers – but the people that I do watch I try to take little bits and pieces of each of their games that I like. Like if I see a pass rush move or the way somebody took on a block or a technique they used in coverage, I’ll take that and try to put it in my game and see if it works or not. "I feel like the most recent guys I’ve watched are probably Roquan Smith, Zach Cunningham, the way he comes downhill, Darius Leonard the way he attacks the ball, Eric Kendricks in zone coverage, the way he attacks the ball in the air." Dean was a star at Georgia, patrolling the middle of the field in Georgia's smothering, national championship defense. In addition to his team's success, he was a unanimous All-American in 2021 and the Butkus Award winner, which goes to the best linebacker in college football. In his final season at Georgia, he had 72 tackles (10.5 for loss), 6 sacks, 2 INTs, 5 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles. Most draft experts assumed Dean would be a first-round pick, but he fell to the third round because of injury concerns, and the fact that is undersized. And really, to say he's undersized is probably putting it mildly. He's short and light with small hands and short arms. There were also questions about Dean's athleticism, because he was unable to participate at the NFL Combine or Georgia's pro day. So in summary, Dean is small with questionable athleticism, but he's an instinctive, productive, smart leader who was probably drafted later than he should have been. Based on that description, his profile reminds me a bit of former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas. Thomas measured in at 5'11, 233 pounds at the 1996 NFL Combine, compared with 5'11, 229 for Dean. Both players look more like squatty running backs than linebackers. Thomas had terrible testing numbers, as he ran a 4.85 40 with a vertical jump of 28.5 inches. That wasn't quite as devastating to your draft stock in 1996 as it would be in 2022, but he no doubt scared some teams off with that performance. Like Dean, Thomas was a highly decorated college player who was also a unanimous All-American in his final season at Texas Tech, and a finalist for the Butkus Award. However, also like Dean, he fell further in the draft than he should have, as Miami selected him in the fifth round. Ultimately, Thomas carved out a stellar NFL career as a three-down linebacker mostly on his outstanding instincts. A look: CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE TO VIEW VIDEO Nirvana is a weird choice for a highlight reel. Anyway, give Dean some oversized shoulder pads and a neck roll and he'd look a lot like Thomas. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-rookie-nfl-player-comparisons-nakobe-dean/
  5. An early look at five Eagles camp battles BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff KATE FRESE/KATE FRESE T.J. Edwards is a good player, but he'll face competition from Nakobe Dean for his starting job. The Philadelphia Eagles will begin OTAs this week, though last year those practices were more about mental training, and less about physical competition. It won't be until training camp in July that roster battles will truly take shape. Still, here are five we're looking forward to. LB: Nakobe Dean vs. T.J. Edwards Edwards was the Eagles' best linebacker last season. He's smart, tough, instinctive, and he makes a lot of tackles (130 in 2021, only 9 missed tackles). There's a lot to like. However, his starting job is in jeopardy after the Eagles signed Kyzir White in free agency and they selected Dean in the third round of the draft. Dean is probably the bigger threat to Edwards, as a candidate to wear the green dot helmet (the defensive play caller). If Dean isn't a starter in 2022, it will be viewed as a disappointment, considering his stellar college career as well as his status as a first-round talent who inexplicably fell to the third round. According to a consensus big board that pulled in input from 82 draft analysts, as compiled by Arif Hasan of The Athletic, Dean was the 24th ranked prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. #JimmySays: Edwards will find a role in the Eagles' defense, but I expect Dean and White to start Week 1, barring any injury setbacks. RG: Isaac Seumalo vs. Jack Driscoll vs. Cam Jurgens It appears as though Landon Dickerson will stay at LG in 2022, after he and Jordan Mailata formed a 700-pound wall of defensive linemen-moving meanness on the left side of the line in 2021. That would leave Isaac Seumalo in need of a new home along the line. If he's going to continue to start for the Eagles, that would have to be at RG. Seumalo is a perfectly fine NFL starter, but the Eagles also have very strong depth along their offensive line, and Driscoll could be legitimate competition for a starting job. Both Seumalo and Driscoll have been unable to stay healthy over the last two seasons, so second-round pick Cam Jurgens could also potentially be in the mix as well, though it's worth noting that he has never played guard. #JimmySays: Seumalo is the heavy favorite to start. S: Marcus Epps vs. K'Von Wallace Epps played 750 snaps in the regular defense last season. Wallace played 377. Right now, Epps is the better player, however, Wallace was a 2020 fourth-round pick, and he's going to get an opportunity to win the starting job. Unfortunately, he just hasn't shown enough through his first two seasons to project that he'll be a quality NFL starter. #JimmySays: Epps is the heavy favorite to start, barring a move for a veteran safety. TE2: Grant Calcaterra vs. Jack Stoll vs. the rest Dallas Goedert won't often leave the field as the TE1, but it will be interesting to see who gets the majority of the snaps when the Eagles use two-TE sets. Calcaterra is a better receiver than he is a blocker, while Stoll is a better blocker than he is a receiver. As such, they may split time, perhaps as a TE2 tandem. We'll see if either player can improve in their respective deficient areas and separate from the other. Tyree Jackson's recovery from a Week 18 ACL tear last season is worth monitoring as well, though it feels likely that he'll begin the season on the PUP list. And then there's J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, I guess, who is moving to TE to try to salvage his NFL career. To be determined if he can bulk up and be a functional in-line blocker (as opposed to just on the perimeter). #JimmySays: I think the Eagles will give Calcaterra every opportunity to win that job. P: Arryn Siposs vs. some other punter not already on the roster Siposs was one of the league's worst punters in 2022. How have the Eagles not brought in competition for him yet? Four teams selected punters in the 2022 NFL Draft, so the Birds could be waiting for a punter from one of those teams to shake free, or maybe they could be mining the USFL? But even if that's the case, why wouldn't they at least want to take a look at an additional punter in the meantime? #JimmySays: They're not actually going to let Siposs run unopposed in camp again, are they? https://www.phillyvoice.com/early-look-five-eagles-training-camp-battles-ota/
  6. Report: Eagles to hire Brandon Hunt to scouting department BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff VIA STEELERS VIDEOS/FOR PHILLYVOICE After losing a whole slew of front office personnel, the Philadelphia Eagles will be hiring Brandon Hunt, who currently serves as the Pro Scouting Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to a report from Geoff Mosher. Hunt was passed over for the Steelers' general manager and assistant GM jobs this offseason, as the Steelers hired Omar Khan (GM) and (reportedly) Andy Weidl (soon to be assistant GM). Hunt previously interviewed with the Eagles in 2016 for the job that eventually went to Joe Douglas. When Douglas was hired to be the New York Jets' GM in 2019, Weidl was promoted to Douglas' job with the Eagles. With Weidl soon leaving for Pittsburgh, the Eagles need a new personnel chief. The Eagles have lost an abnormally high number of front office people this offseason, many of whom held high positions. Weidl is leaving to become the Steelers' new Assistant GM. VP of Football Operations Catherine Raîche is expected to head to Cleveland to work under former Eagles exec Andrew Berry, who is now the Browns' GM. Former Director of Player Personnel Ian Cunningham was hired by the Chicago Bears to be their Assistant GM in January. Former Director of Player Personnel Brandon Brown was hired by the New York Giants to be their Assistant GM in February. Senior Football Adviser Tom Donahoe of reluctant fist bump fame is on his way out, according to a report from Jeff McLane of the Inquirer. Former Director of Scouting Operations Casey Weidl, Andy Weidl's brother, was let go by the team, per McLane. Former Player Personnel Executive T.J. McCreight is no longer with the team, per McLane. Former Southwest Area Scout Shawn Heinlen is no longer with the team, per Geoff Mosher. Former Scouting Assistant Evan Pritt is no longer with the team, per McLane. It is to be determined which of those roles Hunt will fill, or if he is given a job title that doesn't already exist with the team. Hunt played center and guard at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 2000-03. He interned with the Steelers for a couple years during the 2005 and 2006 seasons before landing with the Houston Texans in a pro scouting role in 2007. He rejoined the Steelers in 2010, where he has been ever since. https://www.phillyvoice.com/report-eagles-hire-brandon-hunt-scouting-department/
  7. Eagles' Josh Sweat moving forward after 'life-threatening situation' The defensive end revealed that internal bleeding caused him to miss last season's playoff game BY NICK TRICOME PhillyVoice Staff KYLE TERADA/USA TODAY SPORTS Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat Josh Sweat still isn't quite sure how it all happened. One minute he was readying up for the Eagles' wild card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the next he was in the hospital, undergoing an emergency procedure for what the team said was a "life-threatening situation." "It didn't happen on the field or anything like that," Sweat said Tuesday when he met with the media for the first time since. "I was just chilling at the house. Don't know how it happened. Just happened. We took care of it." It turned out that the 25-year old defensive end was suffering from internal bleeding. He recalled getting light-headed and that his abdomen started feeling heavy whenever he stood up. That's when he knew something was wrong. An artery had opened up and just kept bleeding, Sweat explained. The doctors cauterized it and closed it up. The process was quick. "I didn't know exactly what was happening until they said [what it was]," Sweat recounted. "Then it was scary until it wasn't. Till it was like 'Yeah, we can just do this, couple-minute fix.' That's it." Sweat's timetable to return was quick too. The procedure, according to the Eagles' statement from that week, was performed late Tuesday, Jan. 11. The team's playoff game down in Tampa was that Sunday, Jan. 16. Sweat and the Eagles' medical team did everything they could in the few days they had to have him ready in time to play, but in the end, they fell just short. The doctors couldn't clear him. "The fact that Josh came so close to playing is a credit to his toughness and our medical staff," the team's statement read. But that didn't change the fact that the Eagles had to go up against Tom Brady and the defending champion Bucs without the edge rusher whose 7.5 sacks were tied for the team lead. They lost, 31-15, for more reasons than just missing one defensive starter. Still, a surprise run to the playoffs was over after the opening round. Sweat said Tuesday that he felt like he could've played, but understood that it wasn't all his decision, and that he probably would've been back the week after had the Eagles advanced. "It was bad because the decision came right up to the point of the game, but just fell a little bit short," Sweat said. "Didn't have my levels back up the way they needed to be. So it just...it held me out for that one." The good news? Sweat said he is 100 percent again and gave a pretty definitive "No sir" when asked if there's any concern about recurring issues. Nothing about his approach to the offseason changed, "Just trying to improve however I can and stay available," he said. But there is motivation from missing that playoff game, his first career Pro Bowl nod too as an injury replacement for the 49ers' Nick Bosa — he said Tuesday that he wants "to make it straight up" next time. "I don't want to wait my turn and see if I'm going to get in." And after adding Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis to the defensive front through free agency and the draft, along with getting veteran Brandon Graham back from a torn Achilles, plenty of excitement for what the new group can do. "Shoot, I mean, I think we look great," Sweat said. "I feel like we've always had pretty good groups, and we're just adding to it. We know we've got a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things, fill a lot of roles, and that's pretty much how we approach it. "Whatever we can do to help. That's how everyone is, great group." Sweat is entering his fifth season and his second as a full-time starter. He had a breakout 2020, racking up 38 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was signed to a three-year, $40 million contract extension ahead of this past season and took another step forward, starting 13 games and recording 45 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Sweat, who was a fourth-round draft choice in 2018, doesn't know what the next step looks like, but he's still moving forward regardless. "Obviously I want to have a better season than the last one. Every year just make sure I keep on getting better. However that is, whatever. Just keep on improving." https://www.phillyvoice.com/josh-sweat-eagles-internal-bleeding-emergency-procedure-defensive-end-playoff-game-buccaneers/
  8. 10 players the Eagles can least afford to lose to injury BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff KATE FRESE/FOR PHILLYVOICE Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts celebrates with right tackle Lane Johnson. Each year, we try to determine which 10 players the Philadelphia Eagles can least afford to lose to injury. Obviously, the Eagles' best players are included, but we also try to consider their importance to the scheme, depth behind them, long-term vs short-term effects, and other factors. This exercise is probably more fun to go back and look at in hindsight. For example: • In 2017, they won the Super Bowl despite missing No. 1, No. 3, and No. 7 on that list. • In 2018, the Eagles were among the final eight teams remaining despite losing No. 1, No. 9, No. 10, and occasionally No. 8 on the list. • In 2019, by the time the clock hit all zeroes in the playoff game against the Seahawks, they were without No. 1, No. 9, and No. 10. • In 2020, No. 1 got benched, No. 8's season ended in June, and Nos. 2, 7, 9, and 10 all missed significant chunks of the season. • In 2021, the Eagles had incredible injury luck, as there were no players in the top 10 who missed more than five games. Here's our list for 2022, in descending order: 10) SAM Haason Reddick The Eagles signed Reddick to help boost their woeful sack numbers of a season ago. But beyond the added productivity that he'll bring to the pass rush, it's also perhaps worth noting that Jonathan Gannon's defensive scheme could change some to accentuate Reddick's abilities, whereas that would have been a pointless endeavor when the team's top SAM was Genard Avery. If Gannon were to have big plans for the SAM position this season and Reddick were to go down, all the Eagles have behind him are second-year pro Patrick Johnson and rookie sixth-round pick Kyron Johnson. 2021 rank: N/A 9) iOL Landon Dickerson Dickerson entered the NFL as one of the biggest injury risks in the 2021 draft class. As a reminder, here's a snapshot of Dickerson's injury history: November 2016: Torn ACL, right knee. October 2017: Right ankle surgery ended his season. 2018: Nagging/recurring left ankle injury caused him to miss most of the season. December 2020: Torn ACL, left knee. In his rookie season, Dickerson avoided adding to that list. It'd be nice to see him stack consecutive durable seasons. 2021 rank: 9 8 ) LT Jordan Mailata If the Eagles were to trade Andre Dillard, Mailata's placement on this list would be higher. But even if Dillard remains on the Eagles' roster in 2022, it would be a big blow to lose Mailata. His growth as a player each year has been fascinating to watch, and it'll be fun to see how high his ceiling can ultimately be. Nobody wants to see an injury potentially stunt his momentum. 2021 rank: 5 7) WR DeVonta Smith Like Dickerson above, Smith entered the NFL with some injury concerns, but they were more of the "He's small, so he'll get hurt" variety than anything tangible. And again, like Dickerson, so far so good on the durability front. Smith has a chance to take his game to the next level in his second season, and the addition of A.J. Brown means that opposing defenses will not be able to key on him. 2021 rank: 2 6) WR A.J. Brown Brown was nicked up in 2021, missing four games. The Titans were 11-2 in games Brown started (averaging 26.8 points per game), and 1-3 in games he missed (averaging 17.5 points per game). Because Brown has such a physical style of play, he is theoretically more susceptible to injury. The Eagles paid a heavy price — both financially, and in terms of trade compensation — to land Brown, and he could be the missing piece in Philly's offense. 2021: N/A 5) CB Darius Slay Slay might have been No. 2 on this list prior to the James Bradberry signing, but he's still a critical piece in the Eagles' defense anyway. Without Slay's huge plays against the Panthers, Broncos, and Saints, would the Eagles have made the playoffs last season? 2021 rank: 10 4) TE Dallas Goedert If Goedert were to go down, the Eagles would lose a top 5 type of tight end with no obvious flaws in his game, and he'd probably be replaced by some combination of Grant Calcaterra, Jack Stoll, and Richard Rodgers. 2021 rank: 6 3) C Jason Kelce Kelce has started in 122 straight games, which is second-best in the NFL among all active players. The Eagles did draft his eventual replacement in Cam Jurgens, and it should be noted that centers selected in the first two rounds of the draft typically play immediately, and are usually fine. But let's not pretend that losing Kelce wouldn't be a huge blow to the team for all the skill, leadership, and other intangibles he brings to the field. 2021 rank: 8 2) RT Lane Johnson I don't think the season that Johnson had in 2021 has been appropriately appreciated, even with him earning second-team All-Pro honors. In addition to overcoming anxiety issues, he played on an ankle that has given him fits since the 2018 season. If Johnson were to go down, Mailata would probably have to slide to RT, and Dillard would fill in at LT, weakening both spots. (The Eagles would probably just plug in Jack Driscoll at RT in an in-game injury scenario, assuming he's not already filling in for someone else.) 2021 rank: 3 1) QB Jalen Hurts And finally, there's Hurts. Would the Eagles' season go in the toilet if Hurts went down? Meh, probably not. Gardner Minshew is capable of winning games, assuming the Eagles don't trade him to some other team in desperate need of a starter. There'd be a dropoff from Hurts to Minshew, but probably not a major one. So why does Hurts top this list? Well, 2022 is a tryout year for Hurts, much like 2021 was. Last season Hurts didn't play so well that he kept the Eagles from trying to pursue quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, but he did enough to keep them from adding some other middle of the road guy. He was fortunate the 2022 quarterback class in the draft wasn't very good. In 2022, Hurts once again will have a chance to leave no doubt that he should be the long-term answer. If he can do that, great! If not, then the Eagles will be trying to parlay their two first-round picks into a quarterback they think can be the long-term answer. But let's find out. 2021 rank: 1 Dropped out of the top 10: Fletcher Cox (No. 4 last year), Miles Sanders (No. 7 last year). https://www.phillyvoice.com/10-players-eagles-can-least-afford-lose-injury-2022/
  9. John McMullen: Jalen Hurts' offseason illustrates changes in NFL QB training BY JOHN MCMULLEN PhillyVoice Contributor NATHAN RAY SEEBECK/USA TODAY SPORTS Jalen Hurts It started back in March at the NFL’s spring meetings. It was light on specifics, but Nick Sirianni revealed that Jalen Hurts had been working with personal tutors in Southern California, a sea change for the third-year player known for his prodigious work ethic. Treading lightly was necessary by the Eagles’ head coach because anyone consuming some news today will quickly ascertain politics can be tricky. And politics on the most local of levels like the workplace between generations with different views of the world can be as treacherous as it gets. "He’s working with different people," Sirianni first told reporters back in March. "I’m not going to put his business out there, but he’s working with some different people in Southern California to throw. "I’ll let you guys do the digging to find out more about that." So dig we did. The dream-case scenario is not hard to envision. In Hurts’ exit interview after the playoff loss in Tampa back in January, the Eagles’ offensive brain trust of Sirianni, offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo, and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson offered up constructive criticism that Hurts was receptive to, most notably the urgency to continue to improve on his lower-body mechanics which should result in better accuracy and more trust in the QB’s own mind when it comes to trusting what he sees. The back and forth from there would lead to a query from Hurts on how to do that during the NFL’s downtime and a recommendation from his bosses that was accepted. To understand all of that you have to grasp that personal coaches have never been more important for the development of NFL players because the most recent collective bargaining agreements have further limited offseason work under team auspices. It’s just something modern coaches like Sirianni need to deal with and like anything in life, there are good teachers, bad teachers, and everything in between. Back in 2019 when the now-defunct Alliance of American Football was paying lip service to being a developmental arm of the NFL, a setup the latter had absolutely no interest in, Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was asked about handing off his then-star pupil Jordan Mailata to coaches that weren’t necessarily pre-approved. "I want to be able to teach players what we’re doing and have my hands on them," Stoutland said at the time. "The guys that we have, I want to be able to have them here, coaching them on our technique and our scheme and what we’re trying to get done." The problem with that for players is you can’t be sedentary for large portions of the offseason if you hope to reach your ceiling as a player any longer, meaning NFL coaches have to trust certain members of what has become a cottage industry. Some of the more highly-regarded tutors around the country include former Atlanta defensive end Chuck Smith, who has turned into a bit of a guru to pass-rushers, while Lane Johnson helped developed the "Offensive Line Masterminds” program in Texas with Duke Manyweather. The so-called "Footwork King,” Rischad Whitfield, has helped many receivers, cornerbacks and running back sharpen up their games. At quarterback, it’s former Major League pitchers Tom House and Adam Dedeaux of the 3DQB Elite Quarterback Training Program. Hurts, of course, has typically spent a lot of downtime working with highly-regarded Atlanta-based QB mentor Quincy Avery, so the shift toward the left coast wasn’t just a dart throw. It was done with specificity in mind. House spent eight years in the big leagues with three different teams in the 1970s. He developed his second career as a teacher of throwing mechanics while expanding his reach from the baseball diamond to the gridiron with many high-level quarterbacks coveting to work with him and his partners, Dedeaux, John Beck and Taylor Kelly. The 3DQB method explains that "every delivery must be properly timed and kinematically sequenced as well as be mechanically sound to be efficient." The thesis further states that "In football, there are many variables that affect timing, sequencing and mechanics of the throw, but there are scientific certainties that the body must realize and achieve in order to throw both efficiently and accurately." When asked specifically about House, Hurts gave a clandestine answer. "I worked with a number of different people out there," he said. Dedeaux is now the CEO of the company and the lead teacher for a lack of a better term. One former NFL scouting executive said he believed Hurts was likely working closely with the former Los Angles Dodgers hurler. Dedeaux has already sharpened nearly half of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL so he has become the go-to guy in the league. Beck, meanwhile, is a former NFL quarterback who helps with QB development as well for 3DQB so that's where Hurts' answer comes from. "I think Jalen’s trying to synchronize his feet to his vision so he can kickstart the mechanism as he progresses through reads and just tighten up his motion a bit," the exec explained. Dedeaux may sound familiar to Eagles fans for his work with Carson Wentz before the QB's 2017 run to an MVP-level of play. Injuries and the pandemic limited Wentz's offseason work in the ensuing years. The alarm in failing mechanics without position coach John DeFilippo and continued work with Dedeaux was alarming and perhaps the co-star, along with injuries, to Wentz's well-discussed downfall in Philadelphia. Sirianni has explained in the past that he evaluates quarterbacks in four major areas — accuracy, decision-making, movement skills and arm strength — with the first two categories carrying more weight. Obviously Hurts checks the off-schedule box with his mobility and Sirianni has noted consistently that his second-year starter reaches the threshold when it comes to arm strength leaving improvement to the most important traits. Hurts snapped off a quick "no” when asked if anyone was messing with his throwing motion because that wasn't the major issue to begin with, but just about every NFL QB can use help sharpening up the mechanics when it comes to the lower body. Enter politics again. Hurts understandably wanted to claim ownership of the plan when talking last week, both to shield his other tutors over the years and to make sure a narrative that he was ordered to shift his typical offseason program didn’t start to develop. "From a training approach, my young career, I’ve always been trying to find out what my way of doing things is in the offseason,” the QB explained. "I’ve had opportunities to go back to Houston, I’ve been to Dallas, I’ve been to Florida, now had the opportunity to go out to California, so just the holistic approach of taking the next step as a quarterback.” Hurts also emphasized all parts of his offseason development plan. "Whether that be a function of the offense, running the offense, taking true command of the offense on the field, in the weight room, what am I eating, how I am watching film, creating a schedule for myself and just practicing great discipline in what I do,” he said. "I think holistically it’s all been helpful, no matter where I do it at or where I stayed or who I’m working with. I think it’s all been beneficial for me this offseason.” The on-field shift is always going to get more headlines than nutrition or gym work, however. "I think it was me just trying to find a way how to do it,” Hurts explained. "I think, what you have to understand is this whole thing is kind of still new in a sense of me finding my way of how I do something. The more time and experience you have at something, the better off you can make your way. "I know coming out of my rookie year I did something totally different, then the next year I was trying to find out how to do things down in Texas. Now it’s just me venturing out to try to take it to a while other level.” At Eagles rookie camp on Friday, however, Sirianni did admit the organization at least tried to tip the scales in a certain direction when it came to their most important player's development. "I've had quarterbacks go out there that I've had nothing to do with it, and then quarterbacks go out there that I have,” the coach said. "In this case, Jalen and I work together and Brian and Shane work together to set this up because that was something that he was interested in doing and something that we were interested in doing.” The fact that Hurts is open for business when it comes to suggestions to improve his game is not lost on the Eagles. "It was a group effort like a lot of the things that we do here,” Sirianni noted. "When we game plan, it’s a group effort. This was a group effort. So, it was fun to organize that together and to be able to work to get him out to southern California to throw.” https://www.phillyvoice.com/jalen-hurts-eagles-qb-nfl-draft-free-agency-trades-offseason-nick-sirianni/?utm_source=eagles&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pv-site
  10. ESPN has a weird beef with the Eagles' trade up to pick 13 for Jordan Davis BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff KIRBY LEE/USA TODAY SPORTS Jordan Davis and Roger Goodell The Philadelphia Eagles made the worst trade in the 2022 NFL Draft (or tied for it or whatever), according to Seth Walder of ESPN, when the Birds gave up a fourth-round pick and a pair of fifth-round picks to move up from pick No. 15 to pick No. 13 to select DT Jordan Davis. Here's what Walder said: Within Walder's piece, it should be noted that in the five trades listed, the team trading back "won" every trade. The initial premise of Walder's argument against the Eagles' trade is that pick No. 13 is a stone's throw away from pick No. 15, and thus historically not much of a difference, or "tiny" as he put it. Walder further cemented his argument by claiming that it was more likely than not that Davis would have been available to the Eagles if they had merely stood pat at pick No. 15, according to ESPN's "Draft Day Predictor." Don't know what ESPN's "Draft Day Predictor" is or how it arrived at that conclusion? Well, me neither, as it's not explained in the piece. It may as well just be this: Walder's argument fails to consider any context whatsoever from the Eagles' point of view. Unless Walder was privy to the Eagles' draft board, with full knowledge of where the team had Davis rated and at what points in the first round the Eagles felt there were substantial dropoffs in talent, he can't possibly assert that the difference between 15 and 13 was "almost nothing." From the Eagles' perspective, if they had just dug their heels in and hoped Davis or Kyle Hamilton were still there at 15, they ran the rather strong risk of not getting either player. Houston might have just taken Davis or Hamilton at 13, or traded the pick to a different team who took one of those two players instead. And then at 14, it was widely assumed that Davis would have likely been Baltimore's pick if he were available, and as we saw, they selected Hamilton with Davis gone. The only way to be sure that the Eagles got the player that they almost certainly placed a much heavier value on than what would have been available if they stood pat was to trade up. If they hadn't, the menu of available players wasn't nearly as appealing, as pointed by Justis Mosqueda of SB Nation. If they sat at pick No. 15, what would the Eagles have done if Davis and Hamilton were gone? They wouldn't have taken a receiver, given that they were already dotting the i's and crossing the t's on a trade for A.J. Brown. An offensive lineman in the first round wouldn't have made any sense. It was already pretty clear that they didn't like the quarterbacks in this class. The media and fans had a higher opinion of Jermaine Johnson than the NFL did. If they couldn't have traded out at 15 for good value, they probably would've been stuck reaching for a second-tier cornerback like Trent McDuffie or Kaiir Elam, who both got picked in the 20's. The reality is that this was a lesson learned from the 2014 NFL Draft, when the Eagles had their sights set on six prospects. We'll call them "The Sexy Six." They were LB Anthony Barr, WR Odell Beckham, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR Brandin Cooks, CB Kyle Fuller, and LB C.J. Mosley. The Eagles held the 22nd overall pick, and were hoping that one of those players would fall to them. Barr was never in play, as he was picked 9th overall by the Vikings. Beckham went 12th to the Giants, Fuller went 14th to the Bears, and Mosley went 17th to the Ravens. With the Cardinals on the clock at pick No. 20, the only players left among the #Sexy6 were Cooks and Clinton-Dix. If the Eagles wanted to trade up to be 100% sure they got one of their guys, they could have partnered up with the Cardinals, who were listening to offers. Instead, the Saints traded up with the Cardinals, giving up their 3rd round pick to move up from 27 to 20. They selected Cooks, the Packers took Clinton-Dix at 21, and yada yada yada, the Eagles ended up with Marcus Smith. So, sure, if you look at the number 13 and conclude that it's close to the number 15, it's "almost nothing." Except, you know, it's not. What Walder likely really wants to say here is that he doesn't like Davis as a prospect. And that's fine. We all have differentiating opinions on prospects, which is part of what makes the draft fun. However, the notion that Davis cannot be an elite prospect because his "primary strength is in the run game" is reductive, at best, when the player in question is the most athletic DT prospect from 1987 to 2022 (and thus, ever, if we're being realistic), and the second-most athletic player overall behind only Calvin Johnson. Most draft boards don't vary substantially from team to team at the very top of the draft. It's typically the same cast of characters within the first dozen or so picks, perhaps reordered a bit. Thereafter, one team's 20th-ranked prospect might be another team's 60th-ranked prospect. With that premise in place, it's worth noting that the Cowboys' leaked draft board (via The Athletic's Jon Machota) included, oh hey look (!), 14 first-round talents, with Davis coming in at No. 11 on their board. The only player on their board with a first-round grade who would have been available to the Eagles at pick 15 if Davis and Hamilton were selected at 13 and 14 by other teams was Georgia safety Lewis Cine. But the "Draft Day Predictor" says there was a 55 percent chance Davis would have been available, so the Eagles shouldn't have traded up. 👍 https://www.phillyvoice.com/espn-has-weird-beef-eagles-trade-pick-13-jordan-davis/
  11. Way-too-early Eagles 53-man roster projection BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff ERIC HARTLINE/USA TODAY SPORTS Jalen Hurts, Nick Sirianni, and Gardner Minshew We're only in May and the Philadelphia Eagles have yet to conduct a single practice, so is it a little early to project the their 53-man roster? Eh, each year, I find that the initial look at the 53-man roster is a good indicator of depth, both at the gameday limit, and the 53-man roster limit. When a team is deep, it's easy to find 53 players to make the roster, and you have to make tough choices on which players to leave off of it. When a team is not so deep, you might get to, say, 48 or 49 players that you think are roster-worthy, and then you struggle to figure out which practice squad-level guys get to make the final 53. Over the last couple years, when conducting this exercise, the Eagles' roster was the latter. This year, while I didn't feel that it was difficult leaving players out, I also didn't feel like I was shoehorning anyone in. In other words, the Eagles' roster still isn't super deep, but it's improving. To note, while I believe the Eagles' undrafted free agent class includes a bunch of interesting prospects, I don't currently have any them making the team. I do think there's a chance that two or three of them could eventually land on the final 53, depending on which veteran players get hurt during the preseason and which UDFAs have standout camps. Quarterback (2): Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew Minshew has been a subject of trade speculation, but the Eagles should probably just keep him unless some team offers a Day 2 pick for him, which I don't imagine is forthcoming. The Eagles also have Reid Sinnett, who occupied a roster spot down the stretch last season, and Carson Strong, a Day 2-worthy talent who did not get drafted because of major injury concerns. Strong feels like a candidate for the No. 2 job in 2023, but for now, he makes sense as a well-paid practice squad stash who must show his knee can hold up. Running back (3): Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott The Eagles lack a bigger between-the-tackles banger like they've had with Jordan Howard the last few years. They could certainly add one before the season begins, whether that's Howard or somebody else. Another candidate for a fourth running back roster spot is undrafted free agent Kennedy Brooks. Wide receiver (5): DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal, Jalen Reagor A quartet of Smith, Brown, Watkins, and Pascal actually looks pretty good! They're the clear 1-2-3-4 options at wide receiver. The question is whether the Eagles can sucker some team into giving up anything of value at all for Reagor. There's almost no chance that they would cut him and take the almost $8 million cap hit to do so. Maybe a bust-for-bust trade would make some sense. Back in February, we suggested a swap of Reagor for 2020 Jaguars bust K'Lavon Chaisson, who has two sacks in two years with the Jaguars, for the following reasons: He fits an Eagles need at edge rusher, and the Jags selected an edge rusher (Travon Walker) with the No. 1 overall pick. Chaisson was drafted by Dave Caldwell, who now works for the Eagles. The Eagles have traded for two other Caldwell picks in Gardner Minshew and Josiah Scott. The Jags need help at wide receiver, and Jacksonville is a town where Reagor would face a lot less pressure to perform. It has been reported that Jags head coach Doug Pederson was among the people who preferred Reagor to Justin Jefferson in 2020 draft. Boom, get it done, Howie. Greg Ward could also continue to stick on the roster because he's a high character player who can do a lot of little things, but is a standout at none. That'll be easier to justify if the Eagles can deal Reagor. Tight end (3): Dallas Goedert, Grant Calcaterra, Jack Stoll Calcaterra is a better receiver than Stoll, and Stoll is a better blocker than Calcaterra. They could perhaps be TE2a and TE2b, in whatever order you prefer. Tyree Jackson is a player the Eagles would also like to continue to develop, but he's likely to miss most of training camp as he recovers from a torn ACL. Pencil him in for the PUP list. As for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside's "transition" to tight end, he was pretty much a tight end last year. Credit JJAW for doing anything necessary to help out the team by willingly changing positions, but I'm not buying that this is a career-saving move. Offensive line (10): Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Cam Jurgens, Jack Driscoll, Le'Raven Clark, Sua Opeta The Eagles might have the best offensive line in the NFL, and beyond their top five guys they're also very deep. It shouldn't be a surprise for them to go heavy here. Dillard is very clearly available for trade, but the Eagles won't just be giving him away. I think it would take a Day 2 pick in 2023 for them to deal him. Edge defenders (4): Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Tarron Jackson Graham will return from his Achilles tear this season, and the Eagles hope that Sweat can continue to improve as a pass rusher. Barnett had a dreadful 2021 season, but he returns, because 🤷‍♂️. Jackson appeared in every game in 2021, playing 253 snaps during the regular season, and 15 snaps in the playoffs. This was the biggest need that was not addressed in the draft, in my opinion, even beyond CB2. Also, there's a lack of clarity on what the Eagles' defense will look like in 2022. They'll mix up their looks, I imagine, but will they be shifting to more odd-man fronts? If so, where we place the Eagles' defensive linemen might change a bit, even if the players likely to make the team don't. Interior defensive line (5): Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu The decision to bring Cox back at $14 million instead of spending that money elsewhere was a ridiculous decision in an otherwise strong offseason by Howie Roseman. If you can look beyond that poor allocation of resources, the Eagles do at least have an outstanding quartet of defensive tackles in Hargrave, Cox, Davis, and Williams, even if they're overpaying for that group. Tuipulotu could be pushed by undrafted Idaho DT Noah Elliss. SAM (3): Haason Reddick, Kyron Johnson, Patrick Johnson Reddick will give the Eagles some extra juice as a pass rusher. We'll list him here with the SAM linebackers, and while he may drop into coverage on some rare occasions, make no mistake — the Eagles paid him to get to the quarterback. Will the Eagles only keep a single dose of Johnson and Johnson, or can they keep both? For now, we'll guess that both Johnsons stick. Linebacker (5): Nakobe Dean, Kyzir White, T.J. Edwards, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor This actually seems pretty cut and dried, barring any unexpected developments. Cornerback (6): Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, Josiah Scott It feels like the Eagles will add a veteran cornerback at some point, and there are still plenty of one-year Band-Aid options available. One name to keep an eye on is James Bradberry, should the Giants release him. Safety (4): Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, K'Von Wallace, Andre Chachere 😬. Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Arryn Siposs, Rick Lovato So are the Eagles just not going to add a punter and run it back with Siposs? PUP list: TE Tyree Jackson https://www.phillyvoice.com/way-too-early-eagles-53-man-roster-projection-2022/
  12. A bunch of recent mock drafts have trade-up or trade-back scenarios for the Eagles BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff TREVOR RUSZKOWSKI/USA TODAY SPORTS Howie Each year, we usually take a pretty firm guess on what we think the Eagles will do, in terms of trading up, trading back, or sticking and picking. This year, when we analyzed the possibilities, we concluded that there are very logical possibilities for all three of those strategies this year, as the Eagles have a pair of picks in an intriguing spot in the middle of the first round. It's all on the table, and Howie Roseman has the luxury of sitting back and letting the best course of action find him. The national folks seem to agree, as a bunch of mock drafts have the Eagles either trading up or trading back. Let's look at some of the scenarios that have been dreamed up. Diante Lee, The Athletic #JimmySays: Lee doesn't note the cost to trade up, but if you're using the draft value chart, it would likely have to include the Eagles' second-round pick (51st overall), and maybe a sweetener, like one of their three fifth-round picks. It's probably worth it if you can land Stingley and Olave. Bill Barnwell, ESPN #JimmySays: The Eagles have proven repeatedly that they don't mind trading within the division, as Barnwell notes. In fact, they actually made one during the draft with Washington last year. The Eagles traded a sixth-round compensatory pick (225 overall) and a seventh-round pick (240 overall) for a fifth-round pick in 2022 (154 overall in a much deeper draft). Washington then took a long snapper at 225, lol. Anyway, this would be a reasonable trade up for the Eagles to make for a player at a position of obvious need. Bill Barnwell (again), ESPN #JimmySays: A 2023 second-round pick to move back five spots? That feels like a nice move on the surface, though Pittsburgh hasn't had a losing season in ages. I mean, they at least finish at .500 even when their roster isn't that good. If that second-round pick has a decent enough chance of being in the back half of the round, I think I need more than that to move back, especially if you know they're targeting a quarterback. Also, lol at the idea of Arcega-Whiteside holding any value to another team. Bill Barnwell (one last time), ESPN #JimmySays: I don't love the value of this trade for the Eagles. If I'm moving way back to 29 with KC, I'm requiring their higher second-round pick, which is at pick 50. Also, while I believe the Eagles should aggressively pursue an edge rusher or a cornerback with a trade up in the first-round, the logic that the Eagles shouldn't take a receiver because they took first-round receivers in 2020 and 2021 is silly. Wide receiver remains a major need. It can't just be ignored because they missed on two recent high picks. Do you just say, "Welp, we're just going to have a major hole there for a while because we recently tried and failed to add talent there?" And then that begs the question, when should the Eagles be allowed to draft a receiver in the first round again? 2023? 2024? I'd be curious to hear the logic on when it's allowable again. Chris Trapasso, CBS Trapasso then has the Eagles trading back with the Bears. • Eagles get: 2-39 (used on Georgia S Lewis Cine), 2-48 (used on USC edge Drake Jackson), and 2023 third-round pick • Bears get: 1-18, used to take Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning #JimmySays: The draft value chart says that the Eagles win this trade. I'll strongly disagree. It's not enough to move back from 18 to 39. Bump that 2023 pick up to the second round, and now we're talking. https://www.phillyvoice.com/bunch-recent-mock-drafts-have-trade-up-or-trade-back-scenarios-eagles/
  13. John McMullen: The Eagles need to try something new at receiver BY JOHN MCMULLEN PhillyVoice Contributor BILL STREICHER/USA TODAY SPORTS Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie. In a vacuum, the Eagles shouldn’t have tried to beat the New England Patriots’ offer for veteran receiver DeVante Parker. Philadelphia football under Jeffrey Lurie is all about trying to stack as many good decisions as possible and giving a 29-year-old receiver with a spotty injury history and one 1000-yard season somewhat significant money over the next two years – $5.65 million in 2022 and $5.7M in 2023 – seems specious. That brings us to the existential idea that you can define decisions based on outcomes. What most can’t wrap their heads around when it comes to problem-solving is the idea that a bad result is inherently birthed from a poor decision. Smarter people than me figured out long ago is that there are unpredictable aspects of life that can derail any sound strategic decision. In other words, a good decision can result in a bad outcome or vice versa but the more good decisions you make increases your odds of getting the desired outcome. The perfect local example of this in a sports sense is Carson Wentz. I tried to explain on-air for about an hour last week, framing what’s rather obvious to the forward-looking GMs in football: the contract extension the Eagles gave Wentz looks better and better by the day when you see the exploding salaries on the quarterback market. The organization, however, got the evaluation of the player wrong due to a host of unforeseen circumstances like injury, insecurity, personality and the pandemic. In professional sports, the goal (for most) is to increase the odds of a championship. The process (not that process) is more important than the result long-term, but too many are trying to "win" every decision and that can also be crippling. The current flavor of the month in the NFL when it comes to decision-making is Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Cherry Hill native who is Princeton and Stanford educated. "We're trying to win on the margins and so we're trying to extricate every little winning possible advantage we can find across football operations and using evidence to support that," Adofo-Mensah typically explains while holding court in front of reporters swooning like they are watching The Beatles or at least Sam Hinkie with people skills. The Pats and the guy with the actual resume of winning that trumps every other decision-maker and will for a very long time moving forward got Parker and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick over the weekend in exchange for a 2023 third-round selection. Admittedly, that does seem a little rich in black and white but the NFL’s thinking on future picks equates that to a 2022 fourth-rounder due to the uncertainties that will occur over the next calendar year. What can’t be debated is that from a pure football sense is that the 6-foot-3, 219-pound Parker would still be a significant upgrade at WR2 in Philadelphia over the current options of Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal. More so, the Eagles' actions to date already highlight a firm understanding that they need a significant upgrade at the position to better evaluate Jalen Hurts, a player that before you know it will be eligible for an extension that could be more expensive than Wentz’s was due to the aforementioned exploding QB market. Failed attempts at trading for Calvin Ridley and Robert Woods, getting outbid for Christian Kirk, and losing out to the Super Bowl champs on Allen Robinson are compelling evidence that Howie Roseman understands the need for a veteran presence in the WR room and Nick Sirianni’s safety net of Pascal was not the goal. And that landscape is why, inside the vacuum, trading for Parker is probably not a disciplined move, but outside of it, you have the pressure of responsible decision-making over an extended period not providing the desired outcome for at least three years at this particular position of need as a whole. The draft awaits later this month and three first-round picks give Philadelphia the luxury of throwing another dart at the position but the plan was a veteran to help Devonta Smith grow, not another young body that Smith will ultimately be mentoring. While mulling all of this I flipped on the TV and there was "The 40-Year-old Virgin,” the Judd Apatow comedy that helped turn Steve Carell from cable darling to sitcom and movie star. For those who haven’t seen the movie, they obviously aren’t debating NFL WRs but Jay, played by Romany Malco, offered up Carell’s Andy some advice: "What has felt right for you doesn't work. You need to try some wrong, dog.” Parker might be another example of the Eagles being a little too disciplined. He’s not my first choice and certainly not theirs, but the Eagles still desperately need a veteran upgrade of substance in that room. There has to be a happy medium to all of this and the existence of Bill Belichick and Les "F*** them picks" Snead seems to confirm that thesis. At WR, the Eagles might need to try some wrong. https://www.phillyvoice.com/john-mcmullen-eagles-need-try-something-new-receiver/
  14. Eagles-only mock draft, version 4.0 BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff BOB DONNAN/USA TODAY SPORTS Pitt QB Kenny Pickett As you're well aware, the Philadelphia Eagles have three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and 10 picks total, which should make mock draft season fun this year. Previous Eagles-only mock drafts Version 1.0 | Version 2.0 | Version 3.0 Round 1, pick 15: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh (6'3, 217) Pickett had an outstanding senior season during which he threw for 42 TDs vs. 7 INTs and a 67.2 completion percentage. He has very good pocket presence, mechanics, and when you watch him play you can pretty clearly see his competitiveness and toughness. His ability to escape the pocket, extend the play, and throw on the run gives me some Tony Romo vibes. At the 2022 NFL Combine, Nick Sirianni laid out the four traits he values most in quarterbacks: "When you look at a quarterback, there are many different things you're looking at, but the four main things you're looking at is the accuracy, decision making, the ability to create, and seeing if he's above the line in arm strength." Pickett has a substantial edge over Jalen Hurts in the accuracy and arm strength categories, and he's no slouch in his ability to create. The one big knock on Pickett is something he can't control — his Burger King hands, which measured in at 8.5 inches at the Combine. Some teams will care about that more than others. There are some Eagles fans who would like the quarterback discussion to go away, but let's not fool ourselves. The Eagles had interest in trading for Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson this offseason. They can say they love Jalen Hurts until they're blue in the face, and maybe then do, but they were looking to upgrade on him in the trade market and still could be in the draft. The Eagles have shown interest in Pickett, as Howie Roseman traveled to Pitt to watch him play in person in November. They took him out to dinner after his pro day. Gotta keep the factory churning. Round 1, pick 16: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia (6'6, 341) Davis is a mammoth human being at 6'6, 341, and you can see on the field that he's amazingly quick for his size. At the NFL Combine, Davis had a jaw dropping performance for a man his size. It's crazy that a 6'6, 341-pound man is even capable of running 4.78 40, but that's what Davis did. I wouldn't normally advocate for a run stuffing DT in the first round, but if you have a chance to add a player with extremely unique size and athleticism measurables, he's a player who can perhaps develop as a pass rusher. But even if Davis never becomes a guy who puts up big sacks numbers, he can still be very effective. He is a player that centers will not be able to single block, so he'll at least provide one-on-one matchups across the board against the pass when he's doubled. Against the run, if you plop this dude down in the middle of the line, thus allowing Jonathan Gannon to commit fewer resources toward stopping the run, he would make a lot of sense in the Eagles' defense. The Eagles already have a strong defensive tackle rotation in Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, and Milton Williams, but it's a position they place a high priority on, and Cox's time with the team could soon be coming to an end. Round 1, pick 19: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (6'0, 187) Like DeVonta Smith, Olave has a slight build, he is an excellent route runner, and he makes difficult catches look easy, though he does not possess Smith's contested catch traits. He is more of a deep threat than Smith, however, as he has good speed and ball-tracking ability. He won't remind anyone of Deebo Samuel or A.J. Brown in the run after catch department. Olave was productive in 2020, catching 50 passes for 729 yards and 7 TDs in just 6 games. That averages out to 7-104-1 per game. In 2021, he had 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 TDs in 11 games. The Eagles could use a big receiver opposite Smith, but their interest in trading for 6'1, 190-pound Calvin Ridley shows a willingness to just add good receivers instead of fixating on a certain type of receiver. And really, I don't see the harm in having two skinny guys who create a ton of separation and make life easier for their quarterback. Round 2, pick 51: Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota (6'4, 261) Mafe came in at No. 17 on Bruce Feldman's "freaks" list this past offseason. He’s put on more than 50 pounds since arriving at Minnesota and weighs 263 now, up from 260 last year. Mafe (4.5 sacks in six games in 2020) says he did a lot of single-leg work this offseason in hopes of improving his footwork. His weight-room numbers are impressive; now the key is to take a guy who has vertical jumped 40.5 inches, broad jumped 10-6, run the 40 in 4.57 and power cleaned 400 pounds to make a lot more plays on the field. He backed up that hype at the 2022 NFL Combine: In 2021, Mafe finished with good-not-great production, with 34 tackles, 7 sacks, and 1 FF in 12 games. A highlight reel: (CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE BELOW TO VIEW VIDEO) With David Ojabo having torn his Achilles, this draft's edge rusher depth took a hit. Since we've already profiled Purdue's George Karlaftis and Florida State's Jermaine Johnson in previous Eagles-only mock drafts (and we don't repeat players), this is a scenario where the Eagles are forced to address edge rusher in Round 2. Round 3, pick 83: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State (6'4, 243) Andersen is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft, due to his extremely rare versatility, size, and athleticism. He played quarterback and running back at Montana State before flipping to linebacker. In 2021, Andersen had 147 tackles (14 for loss), 2 sacks, 2 INTs, and 7 PBUs. His size-athleticism measurables are outstanding, as he ran a 4.42 at 6'4, 243. He also impressed at the Senior Bowl with a strong week of practice. Andersen has some learning to do at linebacker, but he has sideline-to-sideline range and can cover larger areas of the intermediate areas of the field where the Eagles got killed last season. Round 4, pick 124: JT Woods, S, Baylor (6'2, 195) Hey, there's a theme here. Athletes! Woods is another one at the safety position. Woods had 5 INTs in 2021, and 3 in 2020. We'll see what the Eagles do at safety through the rest of free agency, but Woods is a player with excellent speed who can play deep responsibilities. Round 5, pick 154: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina (6'5, 245) Likely had a pair of very productive seasons to close his college career, and some ridiculous yards per catch averages from a tight end. Isaiah Likely Rec Yards YPC TD 2018 12 106 8.8 5 2019 32 431 13.5 5 2020 30 601 20.0 5 2021 59 912 15.5 12 TOTAL 133 2050 15.4 27 Likely finished second in the nation among tight ends in 2021 in receiving yards and touchdowns. The Eagles can use a second tight end to complement Dallas Goedert, and Likely could be a fun mismatch against linebackers. Round 5, pick 162: Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan (6'2, 228) The Eagles can use a younger, more durable version of Jordan Howard. Haskins is a big 228-pound between the tackles banger who is going to get you the yardage that is there, but isn't much of a threat for home runs. He'll be a chain-mover in the NFL, and would be a good fit as a rotational back for any run-heavy offense. Round 5, pick 166: Zach Tom, C, Wake Forest (6'4, 304) The Eagles love them some versatile offensive linemen, and Tom played both at OT and C at Wake Forest. His home in the NFL will almost certainly be at center, and he brings outstanding athleticism to the position. Give Jeff Stoutland a year to coach this guy up to eventually take over for Jason Kelce. Round 6, pick 194: Jordan Stout, P, Penn State (6'3, 209) In previous Eagles-only mocks, we have covered San Diego State's Matt Araiza and Georgia's Jake Camarda. Penn State's Jordan Stout is another draft-worthy punter, who averaged 46.0 yards per punt in 2021. He also handled placekicking duties (he was just OK there), but will focus on punting in the NFL. Do we have punting highlights? You bet your ass we do. Oh baby, that was fun. Arryn Siposs turned into a Shankopotomous machine at the end of the season. The Eagles shouldn't lose their minds and use some sort of valuable resource on a punter, obviously, but in the sixth round? Sure, what the hell. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-only-mock-draft-version-4-0-kenny-pickett-jordan-davis-chris-olave/
  15. Shander: The Eagles have no faith in Jalen Hurts BY EYTAN SHANDER PhillyVoice Contributor NATHAN RAY SEEBECK/USA TODAY SPORTS Jalen Hurts The Eagles have no faith in Jalen Hurts. That’s the cold hard facts of the situation. A kid was drafted in the second-round as a stop-gap plan to move on from Carson Wentz. At no point in his tenure has Hurts done anything to secure the starting job moving past 2022, and it looks like he won’t be able to do anything more this year – outside of win a Super Bowl. Fair? Not my concern. But the façade that the team will run out about how much they love and trust Hurts will inevitably make me sick. This place isn’t a QB factory. The audacity to say something like that hangs in the rafters alongside "Gold standard” and "Dream team”. No, the Birds wanted their cake, to eat it, and then have another one too. They wanted it all this offseason and now look like the fox in Aesop’s tale of sour grapes. "Meh, we never really wanted [insert big name QB] anyways, we are more than happy with Jalen.” That’s simply not true. The Eagles were reportedly suitors in both Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson trades. Strong suitors. That’s not just picking up the phone and doing your due diligence. That’s actively trying to move on from the current QB, the one that Roseman and Nick Sirianni publicly drooled over in January then again at the combine. They struck out. They did again with other players at other positions. The trending narrative put out and maintained by the social media illiterates is "Well, if Calvin Ridley didn’t get nailed for gambling….” That’s it? The whole offseason came down to being leveraged in deals for Wilson and Watson, and having NO other options other than Ridley. This is the DEFENSE of the lack of movement for the off-season. There’s also the narrative about teams not winning through free agency, another ridiculous notion that spending money to upgrade your team is somehow a bad thing. Trading draft picks for players already in the league has proven successful. I know a lot of people in this city turn off the TV once our teams are through, but the Rams did that – a lot – and won the Super Bowl. It seems some fans are actually ok with no trade movement because the Ridley thing fell through. What kind of organization has no plan B? Of course, the Eagles do, they simply didn’t want to broadcast it. The plan is to do absolutely nothing this year and hope that they can get a franchise QB out of next year’s draft. Then they can go "all in” and hope to bring in major name FA or via a trade, but only when they have the QB they want. They don’t currently have the QB they want. Don’t get mad at me, I saw it on Twitter – it’s really easy to upset people who go to a place to be upset – where "fans” of our team somehow missed all of the obvious things going on and instead thought it was a personal attack on... Hurts! Beyond the lack of self-awareness, it’s more a matter of how anyone can miss what’s been happening. It’s too easy and lazy to dismiss the Eagles as a non-destination based on guys getting more money. Roseman can work the cap, the Eagles can create money, he’s done it before. No, the lack of deal with either big name QB had little to do with money. It had everything to do with the organization, how it’s run, and the constant changeover of culture. The constant has been Roseman and Lurie, but the coaching staff keeps changing, as does the main position of QB. The Eagles have commitment problems to two of the most important positions in football, the coach and QB, yet remain insistent that their front office culture is some anchor for big name players. It's not. The Eagles are best when they maximize a younger player, still on a rookie deal, getting ahead of the market on his first contract, and going from there. They burn out QBs and they burn out coaches. The latest optics feature a head coach who’s more lauded for his pickup basketball games and cornhole challenges than he is for anything else, and a QB who has been publicly praised just minutes before the team tried to replace him. Here's the takeaway: the Eagles are in all of these sweepstakes as "strong suitors,” but never see to land that prize. They have money, draft picks, so they can get in the game, but it seems like they are always coming in second, or third, but overall, just being used as the leverage. That isn’t a reason to fire anyone, but it should be a heavy factor in a GM’s job report. "Hey, we tried," isn’t really an excuse as to why the Eagles continue to be leveraged. Maybe it’s the lack of substance behind the money, the lack of faith in the commodities they own. The constant turnover and lack of any true commitment to coaches and QBs since Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb left is staggering, and quite telling. The other major takeaway from all of this is the unfortunate and sobering reality that anything positive that happens in 2022 is a bonus. Getting into the playoffs alone last year took a parlay of circumstances, and banking on that again, while doing very little to improve, is waiving the white flag. Then again, Hurts could go out and win a playoff game or two. But don’t worry, the Eagles will remind you they had it all along. https://www.phillyvoice.com/jalen-hurts-eagles-quarterback-trade-nfl-draft-deshaun-watson-russell-wilson/
  16. Eagles tied for fifth-best odds to win the NFC BY SHAMUS CLANCY PhillyVoice Staff KATE FRESE/FOR PHILLYVOICE PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 26: Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The NFC is undergoing rapid changes. Drew Brees retired following the 2020 season. Tom Brady retired this winter. Russell Wilson has just been dealt to Denver. The quarterback mainstays that have come to dominate this conference are dwindling. It’s pretty easy to see that the AFC is the superior conference, especially given the quarterback discrepancy. Wilson. Patrick Mahomes. Justin Herbert. Joe Burrow. Josh Allen. Lamar Jackson. It’d be unsurprising to see any of those guys take home the 2022 MVP award. The competitive balance between the two conferences is massively lopsided. This is good for the Eagles. Aaron Rodgers remains in Green Bay and Matthew Stafford just won his first Super Bowl with the Rams, but outside of them, who specifically jumps out? The 49ers are dying to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo. Kyler Murray was a train wreck in his first playoff game. Dak Prescott puts up elite-level stats, but has been hampered by injuries over the last two seasons. That leaves the Eagles with an outsider’s chance of contending in this wild card of a conference. Yes, the Eagles rode their way to the postseason against subpar competition late in the season while looking horrendous in their own right in the Wild Card round against the Bucs. They nevertheless have the best offensive line in the conference and an elite running game, plus cap space and three first-round picks to bolster the talent on their roster. It’s because of this that BetOnline has the Eagles tied for the fifth-best odds of winning the NFC in 2022. Here's how their numbers play out: Team Odds Packers 13/4 49ers 5/1 Rams 11/2 Cowboys 8/1 Eagles 14/1 Cardinals 14/1 Buccaneers 14/1 Vikings 16/1 Saints 20/1 Commanders 22/1 Falcons 28/1 Panthers 28/1 Seahawks 33/1 Bears 45/1 Giants 50/1 Lions 60/1 Odds can differ from one sportsbook to another of course. On DraftKings, the Eagles have the 10th-best odds to win the NFC at +2200 ($10 to win $220). On FanDuel, they have the ninth-best odds at +2000 ($10 to win $200). It’s still early enough in the offseason that things can shift rapidly. Perhaps a team like the Buccaneers or Seahawks trades for Deshaun Watson as he deals with the legal ramifications of his sexual misconduct suits. Huge free agent signings and draft picks are still to be made. If you’re confident the Eagles can nail this offseason, you could do a lot worse than throwing a small wager on them to win the NFC if you shop around and get the best odds. As for how I’d rank NFC teams at the moment, here’s what I got: 1. Rams 2. Packers 3. 49ers 4. Cowboys 5. Eagles 6. Cardinals 7. Buccaneers 8. Saints 9. Vikings 10. Commanders 11. Falcons 12. Seahawks 13. Panthers 14. Giants 15. Lions 16. Bears https://www.phillyvoice.com/best-odds-to-win-nfc-super-bowl-eagles-betting-2022-season/
  17. Source: Eagles sign GM Howie Roseman to three-year contract extension BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff KIRBY LEE/USA TODAY SPORTS Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman Howie Roseman has agreed to a three-year extension to remain the Philadelphia Eagles' general manager, according to a source. Roseman was previously in the final year of a contract that he signed during the summer of 2018. Roseman has had a variety of job titles, but he has been the Eagles’ primary decision maker since 2010, with a one-year break in 2015 when Chip Kelly assumed full control of roster construction. Upon his return to GM duties in 2016, Roseman took a franchise in free-fall after the firing of Kelly, and in quick work turned it into a Super Bowl winner. In 2017, Roseman made a series of free agent signings and trades that panned out in a big way. Those acquisitions included Nick Foles, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, Stefen Wisniewski, Chris Long, Timmy Jernigan, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby, Corey Graham, and Jake Elliott, all of whom, to varying degrees, helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl. The roster that he built was so strong that even the loss of MVP front-running quarterback Carson Wentz couldn't derail it from achieving the ultimate goal. The team appeared to be well-positioned to compete for a Super Bowl every year for the foreseeable future. However, over the next three offseasons, apart from the 2018 draft, there were more misses than hits in the draft, free agency, and player retention decisions under Roseman’s watch. Though the team made the playoffs in 2018 and 2019, their on-field performance steadily declined each year until they bottomed out in 2020, when they finished with a 4-11-1 season. In the aftermath, Doug Pederson lost his job, but Roseman remained in place. Based on comments from Jeffrey Lurie after the season had concluded, Roseman's job was seemingly never in any real jeopardy. Roseman rebounded with a strong year in 2021, as the team unexpectedly qualified for the playoffs. He made the best of a bad situation by trading Wentz for what would eventually become first- and third-round picks. He also gained an additional 2022 first-round pick with some pre-draft maneuvering while also still being able to land wide receiver DeVonta Smith, a player with legitimate star potential. Other rookie draft picks like Landon Dickerson, Milton Williams, and Kenny Gainwell also showed promise for the future. During the season, Roseman signed a quartet of quality 2018 draftees in Jordan Mailata, Dallas Goedert, Josh Sweat, and Avonte Maddox to contract extensions. Apart from the more visible roster transitions, the Eagles are generally recognized as one of the more inventive teams in the league in terms of contract creativity, and Lurie has often hyped the front office's ability to develop talent within their scouting and analytics departments. Looking forward, Roseman and the Eagles have a potentially franchise-shaping offseason ahead with three first-round picks in the 2022 draft, and 10 picks overall. They also have some ability to spend in free agency, which was not the case a year ago, and they have already bolstered their pass rush rotation with the addition of Haason Reddick. Roseman will be under contract through the 2025 season. https://www.phillyvoice.com/source-eagles-sign-howie-roseman-three-year-contract-extension/
  18. Potential Eagles targets on Day 2 of NFL free agency BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff DANIELLE PARHIZKARAN/IMAGN CONTENT SERVICES, LLC Jets S Marcus Maye Over the last few weeks we've posted several articles laying out who we think are good fits for the Eagles in free agency. They mostly consisted of wide receivers, edge rushers, linebackers, and safeties. On Monday I ranked my top 10 Eagles free agency targets. The Eagles signed one of those players, DE/SAM hybrid Haason Reddick. Here we'll update that list, with new analysis after Day 1. We'll group them by position: Wide receiver • WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals: Kirk signed with the Jaguars. I'm told the Eagles made a solid offer to him, but Jacksonville priced all interested teams out of the market. • WR DJ Chark, Jaguars: Chark reportedly agreed to terms with the Lions on Tuesday morning. The Eagles had some interest. I don't know if they made an offer. • WR Zach Pascal, Colts: Pascal is one of Nick Sirianni's favorite players ever. In the past, we've seen Howie Roseman throw his coaches a bone by letting them sign their faves, like they did with Chase Daniel for Doug Pederson or about a half dozen players for Jim Schwartz. Pascal won't require a heavy target share and should be willing to do some of the dirty work in the Eagles' offense. Pascal is probably a fallback option if the first- and second-tier guys are too expensive. We might already be there. • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers: The Eagles reportedly had interest in Smith-Schuster last year, and he makes sense as a big, tough slot in the Eagles' offense. However, I'm told the Eagles are not interested in him. Safeties The safety market has been more lucrative than expected, but a number of appealing options remain on the market. • S Justin Reid, Texans: Reid signed with the Chiefs. • S Marcus Maye, Jets: Maye would make sense as a mutually-beneficial one-year rental during which he could rebuild his value on the back end of the Eagles defense, while the Eagles find a short-term upgrade on Anthony Harris. He is still available. • S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Edmunds is a size-athleticism freak who has been a decent starter for the Steelers after they selected him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. It would have been too expensive for Pittsburgh to exercise their fifth year option both on Edmunds and his safety counterpart in Minkah Fitzpatrick, so Edmunds will be a rare first-round player who has played decent enough to hit the free agent market after just four years. He is still available. Linebacker • LB Jordan Hicks: Hicks has been surprisingly durable for the Cardinals after being unable to stay healthy with the Eagles. In 2021, Hicks had 116 tackles, 4 sacks, and 5 pass breakups. In his three years in Arizona, Hicks has racked up 384 tackles, and did not miss a single game. Hicks will turn 30 in June, which is not ideal, but he would instantly upgrade the Eagles' linebacker position, and obviously there's some familiarity. • LB Nicholas Morrow: The Raiders had success converting Morrow from a safety into a linebacker after signing him as an undrafted free agent in 2017. In 2020, Morrow allowed just 4.5 yards per target, per pro-football-reference.com. He was also a threat as a blitzer, as he collected three sacks and eight pressures on the season. In 2021, Morrow was a free agent, but he signed back with the Raiders on a fully guaranteed one-year deal worth $4.5 million. However, he suffered an ankle injury during training camp and missed the entire season. Pass rushers After signing Reddick, the Eagles are highly unlikely to spend big money on another edge rusher, such as Chandler Jones or Uchenna Nwosu. Cross them off the wish list. I do still see the Eagles drafting a defensive end in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft https://www.phillyvoice.com/potential-eagles-targets-remain-day-2-nfl-free-agency-dj-chark-juju-smith-schuster/
  19. Report says Carson Wentz had a problem with the Eagles' Super Bowl run Wentz was reportedly unhappy with the Eagles' success in 2017 while he was sidelined with a torn ACL. BY NICK TRICOME PhillyVoice Staff ROBERT SCHEER/INDYSTAR VIA USA TODAY NETWORK Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. It's been a rough few months for Carson Wentz's reputation, and on Wednesday things might've gotten worse. In a review of some leftovers from the NFL Combine, The Inquirer's Jeff McLane wrote about the differences between the former Eagles quarterback and the current starter Jalen Hurts, adding another knock to Wentz's growing list of accountability issues over the years. This one goes all the way back to the Eagles' Super Bowl run in 2017, while Wentz was out with a torn ACL. From McLane: Wentz's character and leadership have been under question ever since Joseph's Santoliquito's story ran in January 2019, where numerous sources within or connected to the Eagles painted him as "selfish" and "uncompromising." The team quickly went into damage control and made the playoffs with Wentz as the starter that next season, but the concerns remained and the Carson Wentz-Nick Foles debate that came with the Super Bowl title five years ago never really went away. Everything quickly fell apart in 2020, leading to the firing of Doug Pederson and the trade of Wentz to a QB-desperate Indianapolis. The Eagles went on to make the playoffs with first-year coach Nick Sirianni on the sidelines and Hurts under center, while the Colts collapsed down the stretch, missing the postseason largely because of Wentz's performance. The Colts seem to be done with him altogether now, but they may have a harder time moving on than the Eagles originally did. UPDATE [2:16 p.m.]: Nevermind. https://www.phillyvoice.com/carson-wentz-eagles-super-bowl-issues-colts-nfl/
  20. The Philadelphia Eagles are going to continue to be rumored suitors for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson until he's either traded somewhere else, or both he and the team jointly make an emphatic statement that he will remain in Seattle in 2022. And so, let's take an in-depth look at what Wilson is as a player at this stage of his career, and whether or not the Eagles should trade for him. Is Russell Wilson still an elite quarterback? Wilson is 33. He'll turn 34 at the end of November. As such, one sentiment that arose after the Seahawks' disappointing 7-10 season in 2021 is that Wilson is in decline, or more strongly, that he's "cooked." His numbers say otherwise, but I was curious to see what his play actually looked like last season, so I watched his first five games, before he suffered an injury to the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand. A quick review of each game: • Week 1: Seahawks 28 at Colts 16: 18 for 23, 254 yards (11.0 YPA), 4 TDs, 0 INT As you can see from the stats, Wilson was extremely efficient as a passer. He only attempted 23 passes, as the Seahawks led the Colts almost the entirety of the game by multiple scores. With 51 seconds left in the first half facing a 2nd and 20 from his own 31, Wilson uncorked a nice 69-yard bomb to Tyler Lockett for a back-breaking score. Does Jalen Hurts even attempt that throw? Wilson also was on target for three other TD passes, and looked a whole lot like the same elite quarterback he has always been. • Week 2: Titans 33 at Seahawks 30: 22 for 31 for 343 yards (11.1 YPA), 2 TDs, 0 INTs Wilson's numbers looked great in this game, and the Seahawks put up 30 points, but it wasn't a flawless performance by any stretch. On the plus side, Wilson connected on a pretty 51-yard moon ball deep down the field to Lockett that led to a score, and he found Freddie Swain on a busted coverage for a 68-yard TD. On the downside, he missed an open Lockett for what should have been a TD in the first quarter, and he took a bad sack in overtime that was nearly a safety. Seattle's offensive line was handled by Tennessee's front for most of this game both in pass protection and run blocking. Wilson has a no-trade clause, so he could block a trade to Philly. The Eagles' biggest appeal to Wilson on the "no trade clause" front will be that Philly's offensive line is substantially better than Seattle's O-line, and would probably be the best line he has ever played behind. This game serves as a prime example of Wilson's reported frustration with the Seahawks' roster. • Week 3: Seahawks 17 at Vikings 30: 23 for 32, 298 yards (9.3 YPA), 1 TD, 0 INTs Wilson started out hot, leading scoring drives on each of the Seahawks' first three drives. It would have been the first four drives if not for a missed field goal. He was accurate to all parts of the field, and made it look easy. The Seahawks' first half drives looked like so: Touchdown Field goal Touchdown Missed field goal End of half (Seattle took possession deep in their own end with only 16 seconds) In my opinion, Wilson was better in this game than the 17 points on the scoreboard might indicate. The Vikings completely controlled the ball in the second half against a Seahawks defense that absolutely sucked, as they had 16-, 11-, and 12-play drives that all ended in scores. Those three drives took up almost 21 minutes, and the Vikings held the ball for over 23 minutes total in the second half. Offensively, Wilson's receivers had a chance to make some plays in the second half that didn't get made, and they punted for some idiotic reason on a 4th and 7 from their 43 in the fourth quarter down by 10 points. • Week 4: Seahawks 28 at 49ers 21: 16 for 23, 149 yards (6.5 YPA), 2 TDs, 0 INTs The Seahawks' offense started out ice cold against the Niners, as they didn't get their first first down of the game until there were four minutes left in the second quarter. Once again, the Seahawks' offensive line struggled. They heated up in the second half, with Wilson leading three consecutive TD drives to put the game away. The first culminated with a Wilson 16-yard TD run. Through the first four games, Wilson only really ran when necessary, but as that TD run showed he still has that in his arsenal. The second TD was on this ridiculous play in which he spun out of a sack, located a receiver, and put the ball in a spot outside of the linebacker (51) trailing the play. This is outstanding ball placement under duress. Soooo, yeah, he can still make plays like that. • Week 5: Rams 26 at Seahawks 17: 11 for 16, 152 yards (9.5 YPA), 1 TD, 1 INT This was the game during which Wilson injured his finger. We'll get to that in a moment. Before he got hurt, Wilson committed his lone turnover of the season, when a second quarter pass to Lockett was batted into the air and picked off by Troy Reeder. This isn't a bad decision or an egregiously bad throw: As the above tweet noted, that unlucky INT broke a 185-pass attempt streak without being picked. Up until that point in the season, Wilson had no fumbles lost, and no INTs. Still, Wilson had the Seahawks in position to take a 14-3 lead with this throw over the linebacker and in between two defensive backs while moving to his left in the pocket. Great pocket presence, great throw. Unfortunately, it was negated by a holding penalty, and then the Seahawks missed a field goal. In the third quarter, Wilson's finger came into contact with Aaron Donald, causing a misfire on a throw down the field, and a rather gross injury. He stayed in the game for one more play, before giving way to Geno Smith. Wilson's stats, pre-injury: 90 of 125 (72%) for 1,196 yards (9.6 YPA), 10 TDs, 1 INT, 125.3 QB rating. He looked every bit like the elite quarterback he has been over the course of his career, if not better. After Wilson injured his finger, he had surgery and missed the next three games, the first missed games of his 10-year career. His timeline for recovery was six-to-eight weeks, but he returned after only four. That was probably ill-advised, as Wilson had not yet fully recovered, and it showed in his play. Here are Wilson's numbers in 2021, broken up by his first five games (pre-injury), the two games he played when he should have been letting his finger heal, and the last five games of the season, which represents the timeframe that includes all games that were six-plus weeks after he got hurt: Russell Wilson Comp-Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT Rating First 5 games (pre-injury) 90-125 (72.0%) 1196 (9.6) 10-1 125.3 Next 2 games (not fully healed) 34-66 (51.5%) 368 (5.6) 0-2 55.6 Last 7 games (6+ weeks after injury) 135-209 (64.6%) 1549 (7.4) 15-3 104.7 Unless you're of the belief that Wilson's finger injury is going to hamper him the rest of his career, there isn't a strong argument that Wilson's career is in some sort of decline, much less "cooked." As for the games I watched, Wilson's attributes were mostly stellar, as they have been over the course of his career. • Accuracy: Before he got hurt, Wilson was completing 72 percent of his passes. Many of the incompletions were throwaways either out of bounds or into the dirt on screen plays. In 2020, he completed 68.8 percent of his passes. These aren't Sam Bradford dink-and-dunk high completion numbers, as Wilson takes his fair share of shots down the field and is willing to "throw covered receivers open." When his throws require touch, Wilson can feather them in to his receivers. When they require some heat to the intermediate parts of the field, he can whistle them into tight windows. If there's one area where Wilson would be a drastic upgrade from Hurts, it's here. • Decision making: Wilson ranks seventh all time in INT percentage, as just 1.8 percent of his career passes have been picked off. The six quarterbacks above him are an interesting mix: Quarterback INT % Aaron Rodgers 1.3% Patrick Mahomes 1.6% Tyrod Taylor 1.6% Dak Prescott 1.7% Colin Kaepernick 1.8% Tom Brady 1.8% Russell Wilson 1.8% Of that group, only Mahomes has a higher yards per attempt average, which is further evidence that Wilson has been able to limit interceptions while also pushing the ball down the field. • Pocket presence / Get out of trouble: If you were to try to come up with a list of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL who have been adapt at escaping pressure and making off-schedule plays, Wilson would be near the top of any list. But it's his pocket presence that has evolved over time. In his 2021 games that I watched, Wilson made subtle moves in the pocket and only looked to flee when necessary. In other words, he doesn't just bail at the first sign of pressure, like he did at times early in his career, and will continue to go through his progressions. • Arm strength: Wilson is widely regarded as having one of the strongest arms in the NFL. I thought this was an interesting look at his mechanics, as his power comes from his upper body: • Mobility: In 2021, Wilson ran less than he ever has in his career. He attempted 3.1 rushing attempts per game, which was down from his previous career average of 5.6 rushing attempts per game. He can still run, but isn't as reliant on that ability as he was earlier in his career. You're not going to call many designed runs with Wilson like you might with Hurts, but as long as Wilson represents a threat to keep the ball on RPOs, that's all the Eagles would really need from him in order to effectively run a number of concepts in Nick Sirianni's playbook. It's also worth noting here that if his running ability begins to erode away, Wilson is already a great pocket passer who should age well. • Poise: I don't necessarily love this stat, but Wilson is 17th all-time with 32 "game winning drives." If he is able to play another five seasons and stay on his current pace of around three game winning drives per season, he'll be in the top 5 by the time his career is over. But beyond that stat, we've all seen Wilson and the Seahawks play, right? Is there a team that has been involved in more crazy games? Wilson has consistently demonstrated his competitiveness and ability to win close games. • Durability: Before injuring his finger in 2021, Wilson had never missed a game. Including the playoffs, he had played in 165 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak for a quarterback in NFL history. If you don't want to take it from me, prior to the 2021 season, an ESPN panel rated NFL quarterbacks in various attributes, and Wilson ranked in the top 5 in almost every category. Attribute Wilson's rank Arm strength 5 Accuracy 3 Touch 3 Mechanics 4 Field vision 4 Decision making 3 Compete level 4 Toughness 2 Pocket presence 4 Scrambling 5 Designed run Outside of top 10 Second-reaction ability 3 There's little question that Wilson is an elite quarterback, and would be a major upgrade over Hurts. No-trade clause We covered this topic in a mailbag a couple of weeks ago, but I'll save you the click and paste what we wrote here. For those of you who are unaware, Wilson has a no-trade clause, so he has some control over where he'll play in 2022. A year ago, Wilson's agent leaked a list of four teams that Wilson would waive his no-trade clause for. They were the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders and Bears. First, let's look at each of those teams: • Cowboys: Dallas signed Dak Prescott to a four-year contract extension a couple weeks after that report came out. Cross them off the list. • Saints: This time a year ago, the Saints maybe looked like a team that had one last run left in them. But with Sean Payton gone, I can't imagine they're as appealing to Wilson as they were then. Plus, their roster has continued to age, and they have major cap concerns. They are a descending team. • Raiders: The Raiders went through a crazy season in which the head coach got fired, the interim head coach did a good job and he too got fired, and now Josh McDaniels is in place. Who knows how that may have changed things. Plus, Derek Carr is a top 12-ish kind of quarterback. Would they even be interested in Wilson? • Bears: A few months after that report emerged, the Bears used four draft picks (including a pair of first-round picks) to select Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft. While Fields did not have a good rookie season, it's hard to imagine they'd pony up a bunch of first-round picks (that they don't even have anyway) to acquire another quarterback. You can cross them off the list. So if Wilson truly wants out of Seattle, he'll have to expand his list of acceptable landing spots beyond those four teams. This time last year, you can understand why the Eagles weren't on that list. They had just come off a 4-11-1 season after which they fired their head coach, their roster was in disarray, and they had major cap issues. Fast forward a year and the Eagles maybe don't look so bad anymore: They have a player-friendly head coach who coaxed a 9-8 season out of an inconsistent second-year quarterback. They have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which would easily be the best line Wilson has ever played behind, at least on paper. They still have work to do at the skill positions, but DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert are a good start, and the Eagles will be able to spend in free agency this offseason for the first time in a while. Philly is a big market where football is king. It's reasonable to believe the perception of the Eagles has changed for a player like Wilson over the last calendar year. The other teams who have been mentioned as potentially appealing to Wilson are the Broncos and the Giants. Denver is a smaller market than Philly (without an obviously better roster), and the Giants have a 22-59 (0.272) record over the last five seasons, worst in the NFL. Is it the right time for the Eagles to make a big move for a quarterback like Wilson? It'd be nice if the Eagles had some sort of star-studded defense and a loaded offense, which would make a trade for a player like Wilson a no-brainer. But that's not what the Eagles are currently. They have their share of holes. Then again, uh, SO DOES EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE NFL, a league so ruled by parity that the Bengals went 6-25-1 in 2019 and 2020, and then nearly won a Super Bowl in 2021. As noted above in the "Why should Wilson want to come to Philly" section, the Eagles have enough talent in place to justify taking a big swing on a player like Wilson, especially given the current landscape of the NFC. The AFC is loaded with great, young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, and Lamar Jackson. The NFC? Not so much. Who are the quarterbacks in the NFC who are better than Wilson? Aaron Rodgers, whose future in Green Bay is in doubt, and... ??? But also, the Eagles have the ammo to go get a guy like Wilson... right now. If you can check "elite quarterback" off of your team needs list, that's kind of a big deal. By comparison, filling the other glaring needs is easy. How often do opportunities come around to add a top 5 quarterback? Can the Eagles even afford Wilson under their cap? Yep. The Eagles would be responsible for Wilson’s $19 million salary in 2022, and a $5 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the new league year, assuming a deal would get done before then. They would need $19 million of cap space to bring him onto the roster, but could then immediately convert almost all of his salary into a signing bonus and then spread that money on the cap over the next five years. The Eagles currently have $16,081,404 in cap space, according to the NFLPA's daily salary cap report, but they could easily make room. Wilson actually has a very team-friendly contract for any acquiring team. So what's fair compensation for Wilson? If the NFC is seemingly wide open for a team like the Eagles to compete for a Super Bowl, then it's wide open for a team like the Seahawks, too. It's also probably worth noting here that because the Rams just won a Super Bowl after trading for Matthew Stafford, the price for a veteran quarterback via trade is probably on the rise. So it's not as if the Seahawks are going to give him away. Last week, Colin Cowherd suggested a cost of four first-round picks, plus Darius Slay, for Wilson: No. Obviously, that's dumb. Nobody is doing that. But let's say the Eagles were to construct a trade that looked like this: Two of their three first-round picks in 2022. A conditional second-round pick in 2023 that can become a first-round pick if the Eagles make the playoffs (which would guarantee that the pick would be no better than 19th overall). Some player sprinkles, like Andre Dillard, Jalen Reagor, Gardner Minshew, etc. But they could be three great starters in the draft, right? Eh, maybe if you're very lucky, but more likely not. If the Seahawks like Jalen Hurts and think of him as a potential starter worth continued development, then maybe he's included and the draft pick compensation isn't quite as high. The Eagles would still have a full slate of picks in 2022, and one missing pick in 2023. With the salary cap set to rise substantially in 2023, you could also theoretically attract free agents to come to Philly with a star quarterback in place. I think that if you're Howie Roseman, you do that deal and secure your spot in the playoffs each year for the next half decade, with a chance to get back to the Super Bowl if you can score enough hits on surrounding pieces in the draft and in free agency. Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | thePhillyVoice Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff jimmy@phillyvoice, LLC. All rights r
  21. John McMullen: Nick Sirianni has to be prepared to fill in the blanks The Eagles coaching staff, even with Sirianni in place, will likely be a revolving door for years to come. BY JOHN MCMULLEN PhillyVoice Contributor KATE FRESE/FOR PHILLYVOICE Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni. When Sean Payton called it a career – for now – in New Orleans, it cemented that nearly 30% of the NFL would be looking for new head coaches in the 2022 hiring cycle with Denver and Chicago the first to dive into the pool with the Broncos tabbing former Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the Bears going to former Indy defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. From there the New York Giants went with Brian Daboll as expected, the natural progression after taking new GM Joe Schoen from Buffalo as well, and the Raiders morphed into the spin-off of New England Sin City by hiring Dave Ziegler as GM and honing in on Josh McDaniels as head coach. McDaniels incidentally would be in Philadelphia right now if Jeffrey Lurie signed off him during last year’s coaching carousel which ultimately ended with Nick Sirianni as the Eagles’ on-field leader. The other jobs are starting to come into focus as well with the awfully-run Jaguars still trying to leverage Byron Leftwich, Houston attempting to man up and show the courage of its convictions with either former Eagles backup quarterback Josh McCown or current Philly defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. From there it’s Minnesota honing in on a couple of Championship Sunday combatants: Rams OC Kevin O’Connell and 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, the former Eagles’ linebacker, or Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh as the wild card. Miami is sniffing around Niners run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel and the Saints are likely stealing away Leftwich from the Jags or staying in-house with Dennis Allen. While the process as a whole is taking longer this year due to societal concerns over minority hiring in the league (and the league is 0-for-4 on that front to date) the early decisions have held true for the most part to the pendulum effect that has been NFL doctrine for decades. The defensive guy "fails” in Denver (Vic Fangio) and you go to the "offensive mastermind” in Hackett. That’s where you insert the joke ‘Is Aaron Rodgers coming with Hackett?’ but at least that scenario holds some water early in the offseason game. In the Windy City, the offensive-minded Andy Reid acolyte (Matt Nagy) was done in by the incompetence of his general manager (Ryan Pace) selecting Mitchell Trubiskly before Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. They’ve both been replaced with Nagy’s successor being the Frank Reich-minted Eberflus, who had to find an OC to unlock the gifts of second-year QB Justin Fields. The Giants went away from the tough-guy routine of Joe Judge for Josh Allen’s "QB whisperer” in a last-ditch effort to save a sunken cost in Daniel Jones while the Raiders were an outlier because it was scandal that forced Jon Gruden out in the first place and interim coach Rich Bisaccia was never getting a fair shake. For Eagles fans, none of the shuffling deck chairs is of much interest unless their favorite team is involved like last year when Lurie somehow found the best of the rookie lot in Sirianni despite starting late and missing out on what I’ve dubbed the "Hansel” candidates, a reference "Zoolander” devotees will understand. The Philly faithful should be interested, however, and likely are now that former co-director of player personnel Ian Cummingham was pilfered to become the assistant GM to Ryan Poles in Chicago. One name floated as a possibility for Eberflus on his coaching staff was Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo stemming from their time together in Indy before Packers QBs coach/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy got the job. The Packers’ offensive coaching staff is getting picked apart after three consecutive 13-win seasons and Green Bay came sniffing around Eagles’ QB coach Brian Johnson before settling on an in-house promotion for OL coach Adam Stenavich. Hackett also wanted Stenavich in Denver but he will be calling plays so Green Bay was able to block that plan. And remember five new head coaches are still to be named and they will all have to populate their staffs from there at a time where you can no longer block assistants under contract from interviewing for offensive or defensive coordinator positions when play-calling power is in the mix. The movement in an already nomadic profession is set to be historic. In other words, Sirianni’s 2021 coaching staff isn’t going to look the same in 2022 even if Lurie didn’t demand any scapegoating for a poor performance in Tampa. Much was made about how young Sirianni’s coaching staff was when it was first cobbled together but, as usual, the Eagles were ahead of the curve when it comes to what the NFL is looking for: smart young minds. And that’s great but the curve exits and while others might be behind it they are starting to arrive even if the brake lights are on for the entire journey. Gannon is 39, Patullo is 40 and Johnson is only 34. Whoever stays or whoever goes remains to be seen but Sirianni’s ultimate success as a head coach in this league will be tied directly to his ability to fill in the blanks each year. Reid’s first Philadelphia coaching staff in 1999 is now legendary around the league, producing eight future head coaches – Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, David Culley, Sean McDermott, Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier, Steve Spagnuolo, and John Harbaugh not to mention Rod Dowhower, who was a head coach before, and Jim Johnson, who didn’t want the hassle. If you have any success in the NFL, your neighbors are breaking the commandment and coveting everything. That reality has only been sped up and if 9-9 is deemed a success rather than mediocrity, imagine what double-digit wins in the future will produce. Sirianni has to be ready for it. https://www.phillyvoice.com/john-mcmullen-nick-sirianni-eagles-2022-nfl-coaching-hires-assistant-coaches-coordinator-analysis-news/
  22. Eagles stay or go: Head coach Nick Sirianni BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff KATE FRESE/FOR PHILLYVOICE Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni. To begin, let's first be clear that Nick Sirianni isn't going anywhere. Think of this more as of a review / approval poll of his season than an actual debate over whether or not he will keep his job. Sirianni took over a 4-11-1 team and helped guide it to a five-win improvement. Of the seven head coaches hired during the 2021 offseason, Sirianni was the only one who made the playoffs in his rookie season as a head coach. 2021 coaching hire 2021 record Nick Sirianni, Eagles 9-8 (0-1 in the playoffs) Brandon Staley, Chargers 9-8 Arthur Smith, Falcons 7-10 Robert Saleh, Jets 4-13 David Culley, Texans 4-13 (fired) Dan Campbell, Lions 3-13-1 Urban Meyer, Jaguars 2-11 (fired in-season) There were bumps along the way, and they began during Sirianni's initial press conference. He was obviously nervous, he stumbled over some words, and he was put into a situation in which there were no good answers to some obvious questions that had to be asked, namely whether Carson Wentz would be back with the team in 2021. If you could get past the delivery of the messages, the things Sirianni said were (mostly) fine. During a long opening statement, Sirianni outlined his five core values: Connections: Sirianni wanted players to connect with players, coaches to connect with coaches, and players to connect with coaches. If you care about the other people on your team, you'll push harder for them. Competition: Teams that compete hard every day are better positioned to win close games when it matters, in Sirianni's view. Accountability: Pretty self-explanatory. Smart football team: Sirianni wanted to put easy-to-learn systems in place, have his players master those systems, and allow his players' athletic abilities to be uninhibited by too much thinking, while also making his scheme difficult for opponents to prepare for. He also noted that the team was going to prepare heavily for situational football. Fundamentals: It's not enough to just have ability. The players also have to be put in the best position to win one-on-one matchups with proper technique and fundamentals. In my opinion, he achieved values 1, 2, 3, and after some early-season issues with penalties subsided, 4. It's tough to say how much the team's fundamentals grew throughout the season, but there was a clear emphasis on technique and fundamentals throughout training camp practices. Despite the encouraging end results, there were times during 2021 season that it appeared Sirianni could be one and done. I believe he faltered early on in the season in three ways, but corrected all three issues as the season progressed: 1) He (initially) did not accentuate the strengths of the personnel on the team. It was pretty clear before the 2021 season even began that if the Eagles were trying to maximize their short-term success, they should employ a run-heavy offense. Maybe the Eagles saw that as well, but wanted to see if Jalen Hurts could run an offense that they ultimately wanted to run, but when it became clear he could not, they changed course? And maybe there was some influence on the type of offense the Eagles ran from higher up? That's all certainly possible, but it took a month and half for the Eagles to commit to what they did best, which was run the football. Sirianni has been credited for accentuating the strengths of his players, but it did take a while for him to get there with this group. 2) His play calling was sometimes a little too cute. In the middle of the second quarter Week 2 against the 49ers, the Eagles got a huge play when Jalen Hurts found Quez Watkins deep down the sideline for a 91-yard strike. Watkins was tackled at the 3, but the Eagles would eventually get a 1st and Goal from the 1 after a pass interference penalty on Josh Norman in the end zone. You know what works in those situations? QB sneaks! Even if you get stopped, sneaks almost never result in a loss of yardage, so the downside is extremely minimal. Oh, and hey, your quarterback can squat over 600 pounds. Instead, Sirianni called four plays that failed to get the Eagles into the end zone, a sequence that may have very well cost them the game. While Sirianni took accountability for not calling good plays during that sequence, he explained that he did not want to sneak from a full yard away, as opposed to a situation later in the game when they only had inches to go. Of course, the most noteworthy play from the devastating four-down series above was the failed 4th and Goal "Philly Special" call that the Niners easily sniffed out. 3) His gameplans early on were odd. After a blowout loss in Dallas Week 3, Sirianni revealed during his postgame press conference that his game plan was to essentially win a shootout against a team that they thought was going to score a bunch of points. Lol what? 🤯 Typically, when you're facing a team that you think has great offensive firepower, you try to negate that edge by controlling the football, which the Eagles were poised to do against defense missing a boatload of defensive linemen. Eagles running backs carried the ball a grand total of three times in that game. Similarly, against the Buccaneers Week 6, running backs carried the ball one time in the first half. The Eagles never had a chance in either of those games with those game plans. The low point of the Eagles' season was their blowout loss to the Raiders in Las Vegas, after which Sirianni unleashed his fertilizer metaphor. The direct quote: When you're winning, messages like that will be received favorably. When you're losing, not so much, and Sirianni was mocked widely, perhaps unfairly, for that message. Ultimately, the offense did "pop," but it was because Sirianni began to commit to a run-heavy approach. The Eagles quickly changed course from a finesse offense to one with a mean, nasty identity led by a star-studded offensive line. From Week 8 on, the Eagles racked up huge numbers on the ground: Opponent Rushes Yards YPC TD Week 8, at Lions 46 236 5.1 4 Week 9, Chargers 39 176 4.5 2 Week 10, at Broncos 39 216 5.5 0 Week 11, Saints 50 242 4.8 3 Week 12, at Giants 33 208 6.3 1 Week 13, at Jets 41 185 4.5 1 Week 15, WFT 41 238 5.8 2 Week 16, Giants 30 130 4.3 1 Week 17, at WFT 34 118 3.5 2 During the stretch from Week 8 to Week 15, the Eagles became the first team since the 1985 Bears to run for at least 175 yards in seven straight games. The advanced stats on the season were excellent, given some obvious roster holes on the Eagles' offense. Via Deniz Selman: In case you can't read that: As you can see, there are a lot of top 10 finishes in there. #JimmyVerdict: When Jeffrey Lurie introduced Sirianni as the team's new head coach during the aforementioned initial press conference, he cited "what coach he can become and what organization we can become with his leadership." Lurie seemed well aware that there would be bumps in the road initially, which proved to be prophetic. Credit Sirianni for weathering those early bumps in a hardcore football city and improving as a head coach as the season progressed. It will be interesting to see how he evolves from Year 1 to Year 2. Stay. Your vote As in, it's your decision, not what you think the team will do. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-stay-or-go-head-coach-nick-sirianni/ CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE IF YOU WISH TO VOTE
  23. John McMullen: Eagles sacrificed regular season satisfaction for better postseason opportunity vs. Bucs Resting their starters against Dallas was the right move for Nick Sirianni and Co. But will it pay off against Tampa? BY JOHN MCMULLEN PhillyVoice Contributor from TOMMY GILLIGAN/USA TODAY SPORTS Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni looks on from the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys. Rest vs. rust really was never a debate for the Eagles coming into the relatively meaningless regular-season finale, a 51-26 drubbing at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, a talented team with too much firepower for a secondary rolling out the law firm of McPhearson, Vincent and Scott. In the wild-card round, it will be Darius Slay and Co. trying to take down the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that’s all that mattered entering Week 18 for the Eagles organization. "The goal is not to just make the playoffs,” coach Nick Sirianni said after the Dallas setback. "The goal is to win games in the playoffs and advance as far as you can advance. That's our mission and our goal. "We'll take it one day at a time, one game at a time." One of Sirianni’s peculiarities as a head coach we’ve learned is imagining competitive advantages that don’t really exist — but it’s like a sugar pill at this point. If Sirianni believes it, let him, especially after his job performance as a rookie which generated the unlikely postseason berth and put the first-year mentor on the outskirts of the conversation for Coach of the Year. After the loss to the Cowboys, Gardner Minshew admitted he was told earlier in the week that he would be under center but Sirianni played coy anyway. "I found out earlier in the week. I went and talked to [Sirianni] and they let me know,” said Minshew. "I was very excited for the opportunity. I wish we could have taken more advantage of [the opportunities tonight].” Sirianni also admitted to the subterfuge with everything in the rear-view mirror. "Some of those decisions, with the COVID stuff, were kind of made for me on that. As far as with Jalen [Hurts], we thought a lot about that. He has done a really good job these last three games playing within the pocket and we have done a little bit less with running with him and everything like that. We just thought this was an opportunity to get him back to 100%. "I know we have talked a lot about how we have to be our full arsenal of offense and not have any limitations to do what we want to do in the playoffs. So, that’s what went into that.” The typically affable Sirianni wasn’t apologizing either, even after giving up the 50-burger to the one opponent the fan base always wants to beat no matter the circumstance. In the heat of the moment, Sirianni did seem frustrated at times as Mike McCarthy pressed his foot on the gas and the Eagles’ coach even got a little testy when asking about the team’s perceived shenanigans when it came to the COVID list. "I mean, they got COVID. They weren't feeling good,” Sirianni said of the 12 players placed on the list last Monday. ... They were either symptomatic or, again, I'm not going to get too much into COVID, but they had it, so I didn't really do anything there.” When pressed, Sirianni got terse. "They got COVID,” he snapped. Magically the only player that recovered was Jason Kelce, who played one snap to keep his impressive 122-game consecutive starting streak intact. It’s always funny how science so often aligns with the wants and needs of the NFL and its member teams. Rest or more specifically, avoiding potential injuries to as many key players as possible was the only win the Eagles were interested in during Week 18 and it was an organizational decision that really was decided back in the summer where the foreshadowing was how quickly the Eagles got into veteran maintenance days at training camp and the 70-minute practices. Of Philadelphia’s usual 22 starters, only six were dressed against the Cowboys and just four of them played, which included Kelce’s ceremonial snap. The only real starters out there for legitimate time were the receivers, and DeVonta Smith was pulled after Sirianni and Co. got him his franchise rookie record for receiving yards. Many coaches – especially older school ones like McCarthy – believe winning is a habit and by extension, losing is as well. Sirianni’s banking on the fact that most of the players that will have to carry things in Tampa didn’t experience the road kill-like fantasy camp Dallas provided. If the Eagles pull off the upset in Central Florida, all is forgiven and Week 18 becomes a forgettable footnote. If they lay an egg, it will be spun as the beginning of the end. Reactionary takes are just that, however. If the modern NFL where preparation time is collectively bargained to a minimum, the smarter organizations have realized the cost-benefit analysis has changed and correctly assessed that getting as many as possible to the finish line healthy has lapped everything else. Win or lose against Tom Brady’s bunch won’t change the fact that the Eagles gave themselves the best chance to win by turning a rivalry into a glorified preseason environment. https://www.phillyvoice.com/john-mcmullen-eagles-nfc-wild-card-playoffs-tampa-bay-buccaneers-nick-sirianni-jalen-hurts/
  24. OK, I'm convinced — Jalen Hurts is good enough to lead the Eagles BY EVAN MACY PhillyVoice Staff GEOFF BURKE/USA TODAY SPORTS Fans fall from the stands after a railing gives way as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts leaves the field after the Eagles' win over the Washington Football Team. I've admittedly been lukewarm but open-minded — and cautiously optimistic — about Jalen Hurts since the Eagles shockingly drafted him in the second round two drafts ago. The pick kind of set the franchise on fire, indirectly leading to Carson Wentz's god-awful 2020 season, trade demand and eventual exodus. It also defined the 2021 season before it even kicked off. If he played well, the franchise was set, boasting three first-round picks that can be used to shore up the defense and help to build a contender. If he played like crap, they'd have to draft or trade for a franchise quarterback and would likely treat fans to yet another offseason of chaos. Hurts has had an up and down season, flashing brilliance and ugly warts in a seeming roller coaster of a season that refused to allow onlookers to label him as being either good or bad. He just kind of...is. At least, until Week 17's game in Washington. Hurts didn't quite slam the door shut on debate — he overthrew some open receivers, failed to identify others and made plenty of mistakes. And his numbers certainly weren't gaudy. In all, he threw for 214 yards on 17-for-26 passing and ran for another 45 yards. He certainly didn't help anyone win a fantasy title this week scoring no touchdowns, but he did show us he might actually be the longterm answer for the Eagles. Following their 20-16 win to inch closer to an unexpected playoff berth, I felt for the first time that Hurts could run an offense that contends for a title. He's never going to average 300 yards and three touchdown passes per game. But he is kind of tailor made for the beautifully successful offense that Nick Sirianni fell backwards into. If the Eagles are throwing the ball only 26 times and they're winning games, Hurts is the kind of dynamic even-keeled playmaker you want under center. To some, that may sound like nothing more than a game manager, but when you add in what Hurts is able to do with his legs, you can see he's much more valuable than that. The Birds' offensive line is really, really good. It should probably have three Pro Bowlers (and didn't even have All-Pro Brandon Brooks for most of the season). The line opens holes for running backs ranging in playing style from Miles Sanders to Boston Scott to Jordan Howard, and it's protected Hurts pretty darn well this season — but until Sunday he never really took advantage, still appearing like he was under pressure at times even when he was. Against Washington, Hurts looked more comfortable than ever in the pocket, stepping up between the tackles instead of scampering around wasting the efforts of the big boys up front. He also was more decisive, throwing with pop, earlier than normal to particularly fruitful results. The eye test earned Hurts rave reviews, and he did it on the biggest stage of the season with the Eagles trailing by double-digits early and needing a win to slide into the playoffs (with a little extra help later tonight). He did it with his arm. And with his legs. CLICK IN LINK TO ARTICLE TO VIEW VIDEOS Philadelphia is not a roster that needs a gunslinger to win games. It's an opportunistic team that needs a quarterback who can succeed when the defense holds the opponent under 20 points, or when the running game pounds their opposition and needs a field general to keep the defense honest. And that's what Hurts is. The defense was the unit that stood tall and won the game after a rocky start. Hurts just made sure they didn't give it away Sunday. And that's not a knock on him. It's the opposite, especially for a QB in his second season and playing under a rookie head coach. There is a recipe for actual success there — not just a wild card berth and likely first-round loss — if Roseman, Sirianni and the rest of the Eagles brass hold up their end and build the correct kind of team that allows Hurts to use his legs, his arm and his creativity to win games. The NFC East also really stinks (besides Dallas, of course), which certainly doesn't hurt. We'll see how Hurts responds to being in a playoff game, when/if the Eagles clinch — he did pretty well in that position in college. I really wouldn't be surprised to see him put together a gutty, impressive losing-effort performance against a team like the Buccaneers or Packers or whoever their first round foe is, one that has Eagles fans feeling optimistic going into 2022. Go ahead and buy your No. 1 Hurts jersey. I think it's a safe purchase. https://fanrecap.com/ok-im-convinced-jalen-hurts-is-good-enough-to-lead-the-eagles/
  25. Eytan Shander: There are fewer and fewer reasons to move on from Jalen Hurts The Eagles brass may want a different offense next season. That would be bad... BY EYTAN SHANDER PhillyVoice Contributor BILL STREICHER/USA TODAY SPORTS Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts reacts after a touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints. Here we sit ahead of Chrismas and the final three weeks of the NFL season. I’m sure your children have asked - whoever the gift-bringer is in whichever gift-giving holiday you celebrate in December – for an Eagles playoff berth, correct? I haven’t. Not because I’m some Grinch out here rooting against my team, rather I’d want my wish granted on something else. I also recognize this isn’t the super popular, or a unanimous decision. It’s also become painfully evident that no matter what numbers or stats are thrown out, it doesn’t seem to change the opinion of whichever side is arguing. Yes, I’ll keep my earlier wish of Jalen Hurts being the QB1 moving forward, for at least the next season, and seeing what this team can do with two years of growth – especially Hurts. But this isn’t another "Hurts should be the guy” column, we did that before. It’s more a matter of why the organization still has this belief that someone else is out there, not named Rodgers, Watson, or Wilson. It’s also about why a fan would be so immersed in this season, enjoying so much of what we’ve been asking from our teams for years, and think they need to upgrade the QB. They have three picks that suddenly don’t seem like top-10 locks. So again, what exactly are you looking at in this stretch run that has you asking for Spencer Rattler? Hurts and the Eagles offense are doing things we haven’t seen in years, dominating on the ground like we haven’t seen, well, ever. The offensive line is rotating each week and it doesn’t even matter. Their run game isn't suffering. It’s thriving. Dallas Goedert has shown he can execute the game plan that highlights him as the top threat, and the team can still thrive. They aren’t even fully using DeVonta Smith to his potential, which will come. The Eagles have one of the rarest combinations of offensive attacks in the NFL and breaking that up would be foolish – dare I say, counter-productive. There may not be a better time than now – ahead of an inevitable win over the Giants where Hurts will continue to shine – to put this out. There are fewer and fewer reasons to move on from the current QB. The team isn’t going to get better from where they are right now by simply adding Aaron Rodgers. If they can even get him. They certainly aren’t Super Bowl-ready by using three picks on Deshaun Watson. The offense works. How could anyone say that it doesn’t? Yet… We’ve seen a similar sentiment echoed throughout the media – people like our own Jimmy Kempski on the latest edition of Post Flight – that the team may not want this type of offense moving forward. It’s hard to ignore, as far too many people who cover this team continue to bring it up in conversations regarding Hurts future. It’s also easy to believe that the team’s owner and other decision-maker would still be enamored with someone with a cannon for an arm, and not a Ferrari for feet. Here is the biggest problem with the team’s mentality; by removing the special talents that Hurts has in this offense, the team is forcing a rebuild. It’s making it exponentially tougher on Nick Sirianni. Even harder on the defense. We couldn’t have had this conversation a month ago, six weeks or even at the start of the season. We needed to see this with our own eyes play out, no matter if you believed or not. Hurts has taken over as the premiere running QB in the NFL but it’s so much more than that. He’s leading one of the most powerful offenses on the ground the league has seen in a while. Let’s be honest, if you consider yourself some master team-builder, you shouldn’t need another quarterback. https://www.phillyvoice.com/eytan-shander-jalen-hurts-eagles-run-game-nick-sirianni-jeffrey-lurid-week-16-jets-jaguars-over-under/
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