Eagles Wake-Up Call: 53-Man Roster Projection

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Not sure how we let the rookie win last year. Josh not only bested me but every other beat out there in his Eagles 53-man projection for 2015. As Mr. Miyagi once said, beginner luck. Guess I have to start taking this thing a bit more seriously, so let’s get the training going a little early this season. Here’s my first stab at it. If you’re so inclined, Paunil put his projection out last week. Read more »

Eagles And the RFID Movement

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

A conversation about Howie Roseman’s power took a left turn. Speaking to reporters at the owners meetings back in March, Jeffrey Lurie used a question about Roseman’s rank to touch on a subject that must have been top of mind — RFID and the surge of Next Gen stats that are altering the NFL landscape.

“When you’re talking about the NFL today and football operations, it’s really a very fast moving field if you understand where we’re at,” said Lurie in one of the grand hallways of the Boca Raton Resort. “We’re not where we were when I bought the team 20 years ago or where the league was 10 years ago. I would say if there’s two positions that have to process information and data quickly and completely, it’s quarterback and it’s head of football operations.

“Just as an example, in May, we’re going to be bombarded finally with the data from RFID. That’s going to revolutionize the sport in the long run.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Time For A Return To the Old School

Jim Schwartz. (USA Today)

Jim Schwartz. (USA Today)

Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan didn’t always see eye-to-eye during their time together in Chicago, but on the day of Ryan’s passing, Ditka let it be known just how vital his old defensive coordinator was to that ’85 championship team.

“There’s no way the Bears win a  world championship without Buddy Ryan,” he told 97.5 the Fanatic. “I’d like to say, ‘Wow, I had a lot to [do with it].’ Listen, we had the best defense in football. And if you’re a head coach and you can’t figure out how to make your offense work if you’ve got the best defense in football, then you’re nuts. I finally figured that out.”

There’s a lesson to be pulled from that statement, about identifying your greatest strength and tailoring your approach to cater to it. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Givens And the Bradford Appeal

Chris Givens. (Jeff Fusco)

Chris Givens. (Jeff Fusco)

Chris Givens said he considered signing with the Jets and Cowboys this offseason and drew interest from a handful of teams overall, but chose the Eagles in part because of the presence of Sam Bradford.

That may seem counterintuitive — a deep ball receiver gravitating towards a quarterback that isn’t exactly known for airing it out — but there’s a shared history, and perhaps an allure stemming from what might have been the first time around.
Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Strengthening the Core

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Howie Roseman retold the Fletcher Cox draft story Thursday. About how they had a trade worked out with Seattle to move up from 15 to 12 if one of their targets happened to still be on the board; that they never anticipated one of those primary targets — Cox — to actually last that long; and how a last-second offer forced them to contemplate their chosen course of action.

“When he got to 12 and we were ready to make the pick, we had agreed on the trade, and then we got a call from another team offering us to move back for a future one,” said Roseman. “And so we just kind of took a minute and just thought about Fletcher and what we projected him to be. And if he was that, how would we get that guy again? And all around the room, everyone agreed that to get a 6-4, 310-pound guy, 35-inch arms, powerful, athletic, great character, we’d have to pick in the Top-5 — 21 years old. For us, even if that future one was a 12 or 13 or 14, we thought it was a unique opportunity that we were able to get that kind of guy, so we just kind of made the pick.”

Roseman called it “one of my favorite stories that we’ve had here.” And no wonder: it’s a triumphant tale involving the single-best pick he’s ever made. Chances are, he’s got some good ones about Vinny Curry and Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson as well.

The key thing, as we work to make sense of the decision to pour $143 million of guarantees into those four players, is the very fact that there are stories to tell. Read more »

Roseman Explains Approach To Cox Negotiations

Fletcher Cox

Talks between the Eagles and Fletcher Cox accelerated over this past week. The two sides were far apart during a portion of their months-long negotiations, Howie Roseman said, but were finally able to come to an agreement earlier this week that includes $63.3 million in guarantees for the 25-year-old defensive tackle.

What made it come together now?

“I think I just said, ‘Yes,'” Roseman responded with a laugh. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Pederson Bringing Hitting Back To Camp

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Back before we started this site, Sheil and I struck up a friendship on the fields of Lehigh that was based primarily on our common fascination with Ernie Sims.

Sims wasn’t much of a player for the Eagles, but boy could he beat the hell out of his own teammates. Dubbed the “shark in the water” by then-defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, Sims would regularly deck unsuspecting offensive players — sometimes during supposed non-contact drills — sending trainer Rick Burkholder running out to tend to the victim while Andy Reid stared daggers.

“He’s got one speed and one mind-set. I think he wakes up, like, mad at his alarm clock,” McDermott said.

Training camp practices were an event under Reid. Rogue player or no, the action sent you scurrying from one field to the next with head on a swivel as pads crunched and tempers flared and fists flew and bodies hit the turf.

Two-a-day bouts under the Bethlehem sun eventually gave way to new-age track meets in NovaCare’s back yard. It was fly swatters and dance music and constant motion but very, very little contact under Chip Kelly.

It’s back to the old school now that Reid’s pupil is at the helm. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Cap After Cox

Howie Roseman. (Jeff Fusco)

Howie Roseman. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles actually picked up about $1.5 million in cap relief for this season after inking Fletcher Cox to a mega-deal and now have a touch over $8 million to play with, according to former agent and contracts/salary cap expert Joel Corry. A nice perk for the here and now. It’s down the line where the obstacles lie.

Given the $280 million spending spree they have been on since the start of the year — including the recent Cox contract  that includes $63 million worth of guarantees — it may not come as a big surprise to hear that the Eagles have more cap commitments than any other team in the NFL for 2017.

The number, Corry says, currently sits at just shy of $178 million. OvertheCap sees it the same way. Even when you factor in an 8-10 percent increase in the league salary cap (it’s currently a touch over $155 million) and some carryover money, the Eagles are projected to be north of the ceiling. (OTC has them at plus-$11 million at the moment.)

“They’re going to have to shed people next year,” Corry said during a conversation with Birds 24/7. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Cox And the Spending Spree

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles went into the offseason with two philosophies top of mind: take care of your own and invest in the quarterback position.

And boy have they ever.

To execute the first part, Howie Roseman — itching to make up for lost time after a year in exile — handed out the following contracts to core players between January 25 and February 22: Read more »

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