Eagles Wake-Up Call: No Odd Man Out At ILB?

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

As Billy Davis addressed reporters on Wednesday afternoon, the same topic seemed to surface over and over again.

How is this going to work with three starting-caliber inside linebackers?

“When we get to training camp, the competition will amp up, and it allows us to expand how many packages we run too,” Davis said. “So we can put some packages together where we get two and three inside backers in the same group. So there’s a lot of things we want to do. But right now it’s just about getting everybody up to speed and on an even playing field.”

Davis repeated some form of that response on multiple occasions. The basic gist was: We’ll make it work. There are ways. It’s only June.

It’s true that Davis could cook up a package to get DeMeco RyansKiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks on the field at once, but it’s not like the Eagles are suddenly going to morph into a 4-3. The team has spent two-plus years working on the intricacies and nuances of a base two-gap 3-4. Read more »

Reconditioning: The Eagles’ Latest Sports Science Focus

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Back in March, Chip Kelly was asked about the wisdom in trading for Sam Bradford, a quarterback who had played just seven games in the previous two seasons because of injuries.

Kelly’s response, coupled with the other moves he’s made this offseason, seem to indicate that he believes the Eagles may have a competitive edge when it comes to gambling on players coming off of injury.

“The history right now in terms of sports science and what doctors are doing now has moved forward,” Kelly said. “It’s unbelievable. Look at the year Jeremy Maclin had coming off of two ACLs. Look at our center. Jason Kelce came off an ACL when I first got there, had a sports hernia surgery in the middle of the season and still made the Pro Bowl. Our left tackle [Jason Peters] who’s arguably a Hall of Famer is coming off of two Achilles’ and has played at an outstanding level.”

The Eagles have not been scared off from targeting injured players this offseason. Ryan Mathews played just six games last year. Walter Thurmond has appeared in six games or fewer in three of his five NFL seasons. Miles Austin has missed 15 games the past four seasons. And there’s Bradford, as well.

The team guards its sports science methods like they’re matters of national security. But earlier this offseason, the Eagles quietly changed Shaun Huls’ title from sports science coordinator to director of sports science and reconditioning. The team declined to make Huls available for this story, and he has not spoken with the media since being hired, but Kelly has talked about reconditioning. Read more »

Duce: We’re Getting Back To Running the Ball

DeMarco Murray.

DeMarco Murray.

Duce Staley has seen a three-pronged rushing attack work before.

In 2003, he, Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook combined for 1,618 yards, but no back had more than 126 carries. The Eagles ranked third in rushing DVOA that season and finished with a 12-4 record.

Now Staley, the Eagles running backs coach, will be in charge of spreading the carries around among DeMarco MurrayRyan Mathews and Darren Sproles.

“Yeah, it’s similar,” Staley said Wednesday afternoon. “When you look at ‘em, when you go back and check the pedigree of these three, these guys are all proven. These guys have definitely been successful throughout their career. So we brought ‘em all here, one big pot of gumbo. And I think we plan on running the ball.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matthews Vs. Maxwell

Jordan Matthews / Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jordan Matthews / Photo by Jeff Fusco

During a seven-on-seven period Tuesday, Jordan Matthews lined up on the outside opposite Byron Maxwell.

The defense simulated a blitz, and Mark Sanchez got rid of the ball quickly, targeting Matthews on a fade down the right sideline.

The second-year receiver tracked the ball beautifully and came down with an over-the-shoulder grab for a big play.

“I already turned the page,” Matthews said afterwards when reminded of the grab. “Don’t worry about that.”

Last year, in the four weeks leading up to the Seahawks game, Matthews had averaged 93.3 yards with four touchdowns. But against Seattle, Maxwell shut him down (two catches for 23 yards). It was the first time in eight games that he failed to notch a catch of 20+ yards.

Matthews remembers that game well and is embracing the opportunity to go up against Maxwell on a daily basis. Read more »

Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Here is our weekly look at three Eagles numbers that matter.

59 – That’s Brandon Boykin’s success rate, according to Football Outsiders. Success rate is defined as “the share of targets on which the corner prevented a successful gain (45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down and 100 percent on third down).”

Boykin’s mark ranked tied for fifth in the entire NFL last season, behind only New England’s Darrelle Revis, Indianapolis’ Vontae Davis, Buffalo’s Corey Graham and Houston’s Kareem Jackson. Read more »

Where Things Stand With Mark Sanchez

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The crowd around Tim Tebow last week was ran deep. His fame outweighs his production, but this was the first time reporters had a chance to talk to Tebow in an Eagles uniform.

The gathering around Sam Bradford was huge too. He barely participated in practice, but there’s a lot riding on his surgically repaired left knee.

And then there’s Mark Sanchez, the quarterback who started eight games last season and has been lining up with the first team this spring. The group of reporters was smaller, but Sanchez touched on a variety of topics, including what his expectations are and why he chose to come back to Philadelphia.

When Sanchez re-signed, he expected to be competing with Nick Foles. But a couple days after he made his decision, the Eagles swapped Foles for Bradford.

“Whether I was surprised or not, I knew there was gonna be competition either way,” Sanchez said. “I had a great relationship with Nick so I expected to compete with him, but when that didn’t happen, I knew Sam was gonna be another guy in the quarterback room. And all of us are competing to play. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: First Impressions Of Murray

DeMarco Murray.

DeMarco Murray/Photo by Jeff Fusco

DeMarco Murray was first asked about LeSean McCoy’s comments regarding Chip Kelly getting rid of all the black players on the Eagles.

“Look around,” Murray said calmly. “There’s a lot of us out here, so I’m not sure about that.”

Later during the interview, a reporter asked about Joseph Randle. The Cowboys running back said recently that Murray left a lot of meat on the bone last season, despite leading the NFL in rushing yards.

“I’m not worried about it,” Murray said. “[He’s] a good kid, and we’ll see what they can do this year.”

It’s been less than three months since Murray signed with the Eagles, but he’s had several opportunities to stir up controversy. He could have taken aim at Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ brass for not re-signing him. He could have taken issue with McCoy. And he could have put Randle in his place.

But instead, Murray seems to prefer a measured, quiet approach. And that seems to be working just fine with his teammates. Read more »

Three Eagles Leftovers From OTAs

Kiko Alonso.

Kiko Alonso.

Here are three items from OTAs we haven’t covered yet.

1. Chip Kelly seems to think the new two-point/PAT guidelines are dumb. And I have to say I agree with him.

Asked to talk about the new two-point rule, Kelly said: “I don’t think anything’s new. That’s the way we look at it. …We were 43-of-45 in the last two years from that distance, so 96 percent. I don’t know what changes to be honest with you.”

The new rule has teams kicking the extra point from the 15 yard line or going for two from the 2 yard line. The Eagles’ proposal, which was not approved, had the two-point attempt starting at the 1.

“We’re still going to kick an extra point,” Kelly said. “I don’t understand the proposal. If they want you to go for two more, the ball has always been on the 2 yard line. That’s always been an option for everybody for awhile. …The numbers will dictate when you go for two, but they didn’t entice you to go for two more, at least in my opinion.” Read more »

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