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 »

What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Here is what the national media are saying about Chip Kelly’s squad this week.

DeSean Jackson’s new reality show premiered on BET and apparently he is still upset about the way the Eagles cut him:

“When I was released by the Eagles, I feel they tried to paint a picture that definitely wasn’t true. It was a slap in the face, coming off one of my best seasons in the NFL,” Jackson said on the show.

He then told his friends, “The Eagles tried to blow me up. That’s cold how they did it.”

To which one unnamed friend said, “Like they tried to persecute you from where you come from, bro.”

Jackson agreed.

Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles 15th In Future Rankings

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Much of what we’ve discussed in this space recently has centered on the 2015 Eagles.

But Chip Kelly made a bunch of changes this offseason that will affect the franchise long-term. So how are the Eagles set up beyond the 2015 season?

ESPN Insider put together future power rankings that focus on how organizations are looking for the next three seasons. The rankings were compiled by analyst Louis Riddick, along with writers Mike Sando and John Clayton. They used the following criteria: roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent).

So how did the Birds fare? They came in at No. 15, dropping seven spots from last offseason. Here’s the overview: Read more »

Showing Up: Inside Fletcher Cox’s Journey

Fletcher Cox Feature

Fletcher Cox, Shaddrick Cox and Malissa Cox

 

Shaddrick Cox always told his brother to listen, and so Fletcher tries.

When friends and family explain to him that things will get better, that the good days will outnumber the bad, that he should focus on the happy times he had with Shaddrick, Cox pays attention.

But that doesn’t make it any easier.

“Losing my brother had to be one of the hardest things that I’ve faced as a young man,” Cox said. “Everybody says it’ll get better. There’s days where I don’t think it’ll get better. Some days I may believe that. But some days I’m like, ‘This’ll never get better.’ ”

On Jan.5 of this year, Shaddrick was in the process of purchasing a 1999 two-door Chevrolet Tahoe. A mechanic by trade and a car junkie, he’d had his eyes on that specific SUV for some time. But before he was able to drive away with it, he suffered a heart attack.

Shaddrick had been dealing with heart issues for years and was also working to keep his diabetes under control. But his big heart failed him that day, and he died at the age of 34. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Projecting Rookie Roles

agholor_940_060215

Over at the Philly Voice, Jimmy Kempski had a good post up on snap counts from rookies (draft picks) in 2014.

He found that only six teams got fewer snaps from their draft class than the Eagles. Jordan Matthews was the only pick who played more than 210 snaps for the Eagles last season. Marcus Smith played the second-fewest snaps among first-round picks.

What will these numbers look like next year? Below is a player-by-player look at the Eagles draft picks, what we saw in the spring and where things stand with each guy going into training camp. Read more »

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