NFC East Roundup: Replacing Rolando McClain

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Here’s our weekly look at what’s going on around the rest of the division.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News looks at how the Cowboys will try to deal with the absence of Rolando McClain, who has been suspended for the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Jasper Brinkley, a free agent acquisition who started 11 games for the Minnesota Vikings last season, worked at McClain’s middle linebacker spot with the starters in minicamp. McClain underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee sometime in April or May.

If not Brinkley, Sean Lee, the starting middle linebacker who missed the 2014 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and was expected to play outside this season, could fill in. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Eagles Healthiest In NFL

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Hope you are all having a happy and healthy one. Some links to pass along in case you need a quick fix:

The Eagles have been the healthiest team over the past two seasons, according to a metric created by Football Outsiders. BGN has more.

Spoiler alert: evidence would suggest Philadelphia’s sports science program has been able to keep the team very healthy. So healthy, in fact, that the Eagles are the healthiest team in the NFL the past two seasons…

Perhaps even more interesting than the Eagles being the most healthy team is the disparity between them and the New York Giants. The Giants have been bitten hard by the injury bug in recent years. Is it just bad luck? Maybe not. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Opening For Barner?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Shortly after rescinding the tender on restricted free agent Chris Polk, Chip Kelly said that Polk would have made the 53-man roster if he stayed on board and that the Eagles would have carried four running backs and three tight ends into the season.

Polk, though, wanted to move on and try to land a more prominent role elsewhere. The Eagles granted the request, and the 25-year-old is now a member of the Houston Texans. That means there is a spot up for grabs, one that can be won this summer. Read more »

Afternoon Links: Why the Parting Shots?

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

DeSean Jackson cried foul over the way he was shown the exit in Philly. LeSean McCoy and Tra Thomas brought up race. Cary Williams took aim at the team’s conditioning practices and said the Eagles were outcoached down the stretch last season. Even Trent Cole fired off a tweet exclaiming “No respect!” after being released.

The latest comments from Jackson claiming that he was the victim of a smear campaign in Philly led to the following debate topic on NFL Network: Why do former Eagles continue to take shots at Chip Kelly?

“I think it has in large part to do with, when you are a professional athlete, you are a man,” said Jamie Dukes, who was an offensive lineman in the league for 10 seasons. “And  Chip Kelly I think has made the mistake that we’ve seen Nick Saban make, Greg Schiano — who I really like but I think he made the mistake and admitted to it…This college thing. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly Calls On Day, Again

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Ryan Day played quarterback for Chip Kelly when the coach was in full-out mad scientist mode. Serving as New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator at the time, Kelly rotated offensive systems in and out at a dizzying pace as he searched for the perfect concoction. Day was the signal-caller in the middle of the whirlwind.

“At that time, we were changing offenses every week. We would go from Run ‘n Shoot to the Wing-T to the Veer. One week we threw it six times, the next week we threw it 65 times,” Day recalled. “Coach kind of had a laboratory there, and it was a lot of fun to be around.”

So much fun that Day found it hard to pull himself away — much to the detriment of his grade point average.

“Coach used to laugh: when I was in college, in the spring I would get like a 3.0 but in the fall I would be around a 1.5,” he said. “I used to spend pretty much the whole fall in there listening to the meetings, listening to some of the game-planning and kind of learning how that went, which is kind of why I became a coach. I just liked it and I got around Coach and he made it exciting for me. Maybe without that, I wouldn’t have gotten into coaching.” Read more »

Thoughts On A Potential Quarterback Competition

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Further evidence surfaced this week that the Eagles are trying to lock up Sam Bradford. NFL.com’s Albert Breer echoed earlier reports that the Eagles and Bradford have had preliminary contract talks, but that no real progress has been made to this point.

The issue, as we’ve laid out previously, is that Bradford doesn’t have a ton of incentive to sign a deal right now. He has already banked $65 million over his career and is scheduled to make an additional $13 million this season. The 27-year-old isn’t exactly hard up for cash. He can afford to bet on himself. Given that he is coming off a pair of ACL tears, his leverage isn’t at its max at the moment. Any offer would probably reflect that. That leverage shoots north for the free-agent-to-be, however, if he thrives this season under Chip Kelly.

So it won’t be easy, but they’re trying to find some common ground. And who knows? Maybe they will.

Kelly was asked: If something were to get done before camp, wouldn’t that essentially eliminate a true quarterback competition? Read more »

Notes: Minicamp Comes To A Close

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The 2015 Eagles got one more workout in Thursday before their six-week hiatus. Minicamp came to a close with a slightly-shortened practice under a light rain at the NovaCare Complex. One player was heard shouting “Freedom!” as the final horn sounded. A quick team meeting, and then school was officially let out.

“It’s a great group, we trust them,” said Chip Kelly, addressing the media for the final time before training camp. “They’ve got their individual workouts that they’ll be accountable for when they come back. Just enjoy your time off, you deserve your time off. They’ve worked extremely hard since April 20 and just looking forward to getting guys back here on the first (of August).”

What did the head coach learn about his team over the last eight weeks? Read more »

Eagles Wake Up Call: Allen Barbre Steps In

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Allen Barbre is entering his eighth NFL season, and to this point only has eight NFL starts under his belt.

Seven of those came in 2009 at right tackle when he was with the Packers. The other was last year in the season opener against Jacksonville — also at right tackle — in place of the suspended Lane Johnson.

Given how high this coaching staff appears to be on Barbre, it seems odd that he hasn’t gotten more work to this point in his career. What gives? Read more »

Vinny Curry Getting Some Work At Linebacker

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Vinny Curry nearly came up with the pick.

During one of the rare occasions that he was asked to drop earlier this week, he popped out on the tight end, turned, and saw that the ball was already on him. He wasn’t quite able to haul it in, but it was still enough to get his defensive teammates excited.

“Can’t cover like Connor [Barwin],” Curry joked, “but it got the job done.” Read more »

Kelce On Mathis: ‘They Didn’t Want the Distraction’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Jason Kelce said that there was more of an “underlying tone” to the Evan Mathis contract protests this time around, one that apparently clashed with the symphonic harmony emanating from One NovaCare Way.

“Last year there was some under-the-radar talks about it, stuff that was going on in the media, but nothing really concrete and he never really let it take place in front of the team or anything like that so it wasn’t a distraction,” said Kelce. “At this point obviously he would have missed all of OTAs. It was a much bigger deal throughout the season at this point.”

It was no surprise to Kelce, then, that Mathis was cut out of equation. Same for the rest of the Eagles players we talked to.

This week’s minicamp will wrap on Thursday, marking the end of the offseason conditioning program. Mathis was absent all spring. While everything save the minicamp is voluntary, several of his teammates suggested that he was in violation of an unwritten code of conduct. Read more »

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