Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Second-Year Leap

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Today’s question comes from reader Steve, via e-mail.

I remember hearing that Chip Kelly doesn’t like to play rookies, and aside from Jordan Matthews, Beau Allen and Cody Parkey, this seemed to be the case for the most part last year. It seems as though the media and the fans pretty much dismiss these second-year players as busts and give them little or no chance of developing. I think Josh Huff, Trey Burton, Ed Reynolds, Taylor Hart, Travis Long and Jaylen Watkins have the chance to develop into good players. Am I being overly optimistic about these players having a chance to develop into starter-types?

Let’s tackle the first part of the question, Steve.

I wouldn’t say that Kelly doesn’t like to play rookies. He’s been pretty consistent with his belief in running a meritocracy. The players who give the Eagles the best chance to win will get on the field. It doesn’t matter if they’re rookies, veterans or whatever. I believe Kelly 100 percent when he says he believes this is the only way to govern a team and manage playing time. Read more »

Draft Daily: Alabama S Collins an Unlikely Option

Eagles Draft 2015
Kevin Liles / USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Liles / USA TODAY Sports

Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.

THE BACK STORY

Before Ed Marynowitz landed with the Eagles in 2012, he directed Nick Saban’s recruiting efforts at Alabama.

And part of his last class in Tuscaloosa included Landon Collins, a defensive back who chose the Crimson Tide over LSU, much to the dismay of his Mom, who wanted the New Orleans native to stay in-state.

Much has been written about Chip Kelly’s inclination to bring on Oregon players. But given Marynowitz’s ties to Alabama (2008-2011), it’s reasonable to wonder whether the Eagles will see an influx of players from his former program. Read more »

Draft Daily: Why Chip Will Love USC WR Agholor

Eagles Draft 2015
Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.

THE BACK STORY

Chip Kelly continued his draft prep today, reportedly working out USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor in Tampa.

Kelly has not hidden the fact that he believes this is once again a deep and talented group of wide receivers. And Agholor has a lot of the attributes that Kelly finds attractive. In 2012, Kelly’s final season at Oregon, Agholor lit up the Ducks for six catches, 162 yards and a touchdown as a freshman. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Roseman’s Role In Negotiations

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Today’s question comes from reader Christopher, via e-mail:

A lot has been written about Chip overpaying on some of these contracts, such as the potential $3 million Austin can make if he achieves his incentives. How come Howie isn’t getting some of this flak? He is supposed to be the salary cap guy now, right?

The first question posed to Chip Kelly during last week’s roundtable was about why he felt Ed Marynowitz was better suited to fit his vision than Howie Roseman.

“I think we just tried to maximize everybody’s strengths,” Kelly said. “Howie does an unbelievable job from the contract side and cap side, and we’re just moving in a different direction from a personnel standpoint.”

Based on that statement, you’re right Chris. If Roseman’s handling the cap and contracts, then the criticism over how the Eagles are utilizing some of their finances should be directed towards him. But there’s a problem with this theory: It’s extremely difficult to envision a scenario where Kelly gives Roseman even an ounce of power in these negotiations. Read more »

Draft Daily: Arizona St. WR Jaelen Strong

Eagles Draft 2015
Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong. Ivan Pierre Aguirre / USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong. Ivan Pierre Aguirre / USA TODAY Sports

Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.

THE BACK STORY

As names fly off the board in the first round of the draft, there will be plenty of people in Philadelphia glued to their TVs to see where Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong ends up.

The West Catholic product has roots in the city. His Dad, John Rankin, was a standout basketball player at Drexel, scoring 2,111 points, second in school history. He went on to serve as a detective in the Philadelphia Police Department before leukemia took his life when Strong was 9-years-old (good story here on Strong and Rankin from the Inquirer).

Strong was a standout high school athlete himself, but he didn’t have the grades to play Division I and ended up attending Pierce College (JUCO) in Southern California before eventually landing at Arizona State. Read more »

It’s Official: Eagles Sign WR Miles Austin

Miles Austin. Aaron Doster/USA Today

Miles Austin. Aaron Doster/USA Today

Miles Austin identified a few reasons for deciding to sign with the Eagles: the winning culture, the guys in the locker room and the proximity to his home town in New Jersey.

Those are all reasonable factors, but the truth is, it sounds like Austin didn’t have many (any?) other options.

“I didn’t visit anywhere [else],” Austin confirmed. “This is the only place I came.”

The Eagles officially announced Tuesday that they’ve signed Austin to a one-year deal. According to NFL Network, it’s worth $2.3 million, a curious amount for a player who didn’t seem to be generating much interest on the open market. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bradford And the Zone Read

Daniel Shirey | USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Shirey | USA TODAY Sports

Today’s question comes from reader Andrew, via e-mail:

I have been waiting for an article discussing Sam Bradford and running the read option. It seems like the guy is already a risk to get hurt just staying in the pocket. Do we really want this guy running the read option 5-7 times a game? I already envision Sam tearing an ACL running to the sideline a la Mcnabb in 2006. Talk me off the ledge Sheil.

I imagine that when he’s surrounded by his peers, Chip Kelly speaks rather eloquently about the intricacies of the zone read and why it works/doesn’t work in certain situations. But with reporters, he’s usually not very forthcoming on this topic, Andrew.

Just last week at the owners meetings, Kelly was asked about the zone read.

“We don’t run as much zone read as you think we run,” Kelly said. “Probably less than two times a game.”

Can it be an effective tool at the NFL level?

“It depends on your personnel,” Kelly said. “I think the Seattle Seahawks run it outstanding. And it’s a real difficult play in terms of how they run it. But I think we’re maybe less than one a game in terms of running zone read plays. It’s not a big part of what we do.” Read more »

Maclin: ‘You Just Can’t Plug Guys In Anywhere’

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

There was no bitterness in Jeremy Maclin’s voice.

He had hoped to stick with the Eagles for the next stretch of his career. He watched his former team throw out guaranteed dollars to outsiders like Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray. He said his decision wasn’t all about the money, while admitting that the contract obviously played a role.

But Maclin seemed happy when he addressed reporters at Todd Herremans’ charity event last week. And why shouldn’t he be? He got $22.5 million guaranteed, will be playing for the coach who drafted him and is returning to his home state.

Maclin even praised Chip Kelly, saying he believes in his former coach and expects the Eagles to be productive offensively for years to come.

The topic of how the Eagles will replace Maclin is one that will be discussed often between now and draft time. For the second year in a row, the Birds will return to training camp without their leading receiver from the previous year. Read more »

Three Leftovers: Kelce Working With Bradford

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

From Connor Barwin’s contract to Jason Kelce’s view of the QB situation to Jeremy Maclin’s praise for Nick Foles, here are three Eagles leftovers from Todd Herremans’ charity event on Thursday night.

1. Kelce is one of the Eagles players who stays in the Philadelphia area and works out at the NovaCare Complex in the offseason. That means he’s already had a chance to get a first impression of new quarterback Sam Bradford. So what does Kelce think?

“I’ve been meeting with him and going over things,” Kelce said. “I think he’s a guy that comes off as very cerebral, very smart, very quick. He’s had a lot of bad luck in his career as far as injuries are concerned and as far as… I don’t want to throw any offensive lines under the bus, but I think he’s much better suited now with us. I think that he has a good chance to be very successful in this offense.”

As for the draft, Kelce said he doesn’t think the Eagles will make a move to land Marcus Mariota. Read more »

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