What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week:

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com writes that the Eagles’ free agent strategy will allow them to draft for quality in April:

This is the benefit of all that cap room the Eagles had when this week began. They’re able to find all kinds of pieces to fit all kinds of holes. When draft day rolls around and they tell everybody they took the best player available, it’s going to be easy to believe them. Because they won’t be caught in that not-very-fun position of having to draft for immediate need.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland writes that the Eagles are having “a truly great offseason.”

Barwin and Phillips are both 26, so if they succeed, the Eagles will have two building blocks for the future right as they hit their prime. They also added 28-year-old cornerback Cary Williams on a three-year, $17 million deal that’s a step below the $8 million to $10 million range Williams reportedly sought as he hit the market. Williams is a competent starting cornerback; if the Eagles can come away from the draft with Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Williams would make an excellent no. 2 starter.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com believes the Eagles should strongly consider drafting Geno Smith with the fourth pick:

All of this leads me to believe that, once again, quarterbacks will be overdrafted in April. And it also makes me think the Philadelphia Eagles are quite serious about finding out whether West Virginia’s Geno Smith is right for them. With the fourth pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Eagles should take him if they believe he’s good enough. If they’re right, they are set for four years, regardless of other quarterbacks on the roster. If they are wrong, the cost is a little more than $4 million per season (average annual salary of the No. 4 pick) — compared to $3.7 million for Cassel … as a backup!

Brian McIntyre of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner blog calls the Eagles one of the winners in free agency:

General manager Howie Roseman has clearly learned the lesson and, with the team moving to a 3-4 defense, made a quartet of defensive signings to fit the scheme. The centerpiece of the transactions was Isaac Sopoaga, a versatile former 49ers defensive lineman who could play a few spots along the Eagles’ line. The Eagles added cornerback Bradley Fletcher, an oft-injured player who will certainly play on the outside in a secondary that released Nnamdi Asomugha on Tuesday and figures to lose Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to free agency. The Eagles also signed safety Patrick Chung, who should compete for a starting job, and linebacker Jason Phillips, a core special teams guy.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com likes the Eagles’ addition of cornerback Bradley Fletcher:

Eagles signing former Rams corner Bradley Fletcher to a two-year deal. Fletcher is a player who has had two knee surgeries, but when he has been healthy he has been a quality man-cover player. Fletcher didn’t play as much as he should have last year because he was on a one-year deal and the Rams were in a youth movement. They played rookie Trumaine Johnson at nickel corner, but Fletcher should have been on the field. The Eagles have a major need at corner, so this is a good move. Here’s a bet he starts.

Chris Burke of SI.com looks at the Eagles’ draft needs:

Philadelphia still needs to address some areas on defense, but injuries to Jason Peters and Todd Herremans last season left the Eagles reeling at tackle. Could one of the draft’s elite talents be the pick at No. 4? If not, grabbing an athletic rush-linebacker might be in the cards.

John Clayton of ESPN.com writes that new coaches like Chip Kelly often make dramatic changes to the roster:

Often, a new coach turns over more than 50 percent of a roster. By late in the season last year, the Colts had 36 new players on their roster.

With eight new head coaches, the roster turnover is happening at a fast pace. Philadelphia’s Kelly and Kansas City’s Andy Reid are leading the way. The Eagles are switching to a 3-4 defense, so Kelly aggressively started filling starting jobs.

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  • kamikaze47

    I actually am not gushing over the Eagles moves, they are OK, but almost every player they got has an ? such as injury history, drop in production, temper, primarily backup. I understand they cant get all top players, but we have been burned by so many players coming off injuries in the past. I hope they make about 3-5 more moves in FA (OL, DL, LB, etc), then draft for need.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      if anything with these signing, the Eagles have positioned themselves to have better depth over the roster than was available without these moves. I seriously doubt any of these guys will be superstars but in two years I’m willing to bet they each make some contribution or face being cut with no financial sacrifice or cap hits.

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

      I wouldn’t use the term gushing either. I felt the same way as you, actually more pessimistic especially after the first night. I like Phillips as long as he can stay healthy (big ? I know) and Barwin is a solid move given the lack of coin they had to give up. The Williams kid should be ok, I think he is more of a number two than anything. If we made another move in FA I would love for it to be for one of the top OTs, which would put us in the drivers seat for Millner.

      • Warhound

        Seams like, if they got an OT, they’d be set to draft any player they like. This is what many expected: an attempt to have at least possible starters for each position before the draft.

        • ICDogg

          several OTs still out there, last I looked

        • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

          That is exactly my point. If we bring in one of these OTs than we can draft strictly BPA. That still may mean we draft an OT, which I would be fine with. I personally would love to see us bring in Vollmer. If we don’t pick up a FA OT than you can bet we are drafting Fisher.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kheumiller Keith Heumiller

        Pretty sure the birds are done with free agency. Howie has said they will be looking forward to the draft as of the owners meetings.

        Personally I like the FA pickups. Most are extremely versatile, which is why I see us targeting Fischer in the draft. He can play on both sides of the line. If he comes off the board look for us to trade down and target OL in the late 1st early 2nd.

    • theycallmerob

      I hear you, but there are positives to be found as well. The most important thing is that all the contracts are cheap and short, with outs if the Eagles need. Almost all of the players have starting experience, at least when healthy. If nothing else but for providing depth, let’s say the Eagles get maybe 1-2 starters out of the Casey/Williams/Fletcher/Chung/Philips group. Too many of the “top players” have too big of an ego for ST, which is why ours has stunk for years. Besides the team-friendly deals, many of these players seem to have been signed for their mental approach to playing as much as their physical skills. Low risk/High reward.

      And did you really mean to say draft for need at the end?

      • Richard Colton

        Right on. Don’t you feel our kick coverage units getting better with Colt Anderson not starting, and the additions of Benn and Phillips?

        • theycallmerob

          Yessir, and I’m sure we’ll be adding some additional DB’s and LB’s who will be playing ST by the time the season starts- and, most of all, other players should learn from the example these players will set. I’m actually excited to have a coach who understands the value in all 3 phases of the game.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      This is the bulk of what will be done in FA. Any moves you see in the future will almost all be one year rentals.

      There is a reason these guys are free agents. You don’t get guys in free agency without question marks. If you have a guy that’s young, no injury history, no drops in production, and has been a starter chances are they aren’t gonna be available because they’re gonna get resigned by their own team. And if they do, chances are they are going to be asking for way too much money and aren’t going to replicate that success on a new team.

      You take a chance on these guys with question marks because you hope if you give them a team friendly deal with incentives that your coach and system can be a fresh start and bring them back to where they once were.

      These aren’t moves to gush over. There are no free agent moves to gush over, because if your team is signing nothing but top guys chances are it isn’t going to work. We’ve been there. This is the better approach.

    • JofreyRice

      Kenny Phillips is the biggest talent they signed, IMO, and he’s very much a question mark in regards to health.

      Some people here are jumping for joy because Roseman got a good deal on some of these guys and saved Lurie a few mil. I mean, we know Roseman is capable when it comes to drawing a contract–that’s where he came from, salary cap management. They wouldn’t be 40 million under the cap, otherwise. The real question is, can a salary cap expert that can draw up favorable contracts for the org field the necessary football talent to better the team? So far, based on the Eagles W-L record and current purging of the roster that Roseman’s helped to build, I’d say he’s failed more often than he’s succeeded.

      • usmcnole

        That’s gamble’s job now

        • JofreyRice

          what, acquiring talent? I can’t agree to that. I think Gamble is a voice in the room, but Howie is the General Manager. I know Lurie tried to make Banner/and or Reid the patsy for all the missteps the team has made in the past few years, but they all coincide with Howie becoming GM. At some point, he’s got to take responsibility for the roster, I’m not prepared to set Gamble up as the new guy to pin bad decisions on.

    • More Recent Times

      Remember how poorly they have drafted recently. They had to get a bunch of regular “guys”to make up for all the failed pickles who aren’t around anymore. SP/Ters, and depth guys. From that perspective i think they killed it.

  • dislikedisqus

    I think they’ve signed a lot of guys, most of whom under produced last year, and they’re hoping some of them will get back to a higher level of play. The odds are some will and some won’t. But there are as many question marks as reasons for optimism. But they’ve made a lot of agents happy!

    I also think it’s harder to turn over the whole roster now that the CBA limits practices much more. It’s going to be longer before all these new guys mesh into a coherent unit, esp with the new coaching staff.

    • hillbillybirdsfan

      At least Chip won’t be behind in that respect; he’s actually been getting lots of guys ready in a rules-limited amount of time for longer than the NFL guys.

  • Birds are back baby

    Have to give the front office their props so far, seems like more common sense and quicker thinking than when ‘you know who’ was here. Birds are doing it right so all the negative dee heads can pound sand. All I can say is………GO…… BIRDS!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

    I am feeling more and more confident about the off-season we are putting together. As the draft comes closer I love that we will be looking at best player available. I think with that being said if we stay at 4 we are going to grab Millner, Joekel, Fisher, or Star Lotulelei. For some reason Star has seen his draft stock fall but if he is given a clean bill of health you can pull the trigger.

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

      My sense is Fisher in the first and the best available CB in the second.

      • Richard Colton

        great pick. how about “best available player” instead of CB?

        • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

          Wouldn’t mind it at all.

    • Richard Colton

      I like 3 out of your 4. There is way too much depth at DT in this draft for Star at #4. I think you can find a starting DT in round two or three, but a franchise LT – in the first draft I can remember in 10 years with 3 franchise OTs – will be nearly impossible to find outside the top 7-10.

      • TheAsshole

        Really? 2010 wasn’t that long ago…

        4. Trent Williams *
        6. Russell Okung *
        11. Anthony Davis

        * Already Pro Bowlers

        • Richard Colton

          and all top-10 picks (well, top 11) As big a Rutgers fan as I am, I’d be hard pressed to call Anthony Davis a franchise LT. He’s a solid player on a really good offensive line. In 2010, nobody was hyping Davis like Lane Johnson is being hyped now – and that’s as the 3rd OT off the board. At any rate, good point – keep firing asshole ;-)

          • D3Keith

            I didn’t see his screen name at first … lol

    • grn_mtn_phan

      Just wonderin, no interest in Jordan? Too high a pick for him maybe? Speaking of Wich, how would you feel if they ACTUALLY do have legit interest in (my words) a SUPER REACH on Geno Smith with that pick?

      • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

        Jordan is an okay pick there I wouldn’t be upset. However we have a lot of players at that spot…Barwin, Cole, Graham, and Curry. Smith I’m not interested in really.

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    In the Draft to add talent and impact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 1. Geno Smith QB 2. Terron Armstead, OT 3. Tyrann Mathieu,FS

    • Capt. Undapants

      It’s unpopular but I also like Mathieu. We would get a playmaker and a crazy athlete.

    • theycallmerob

      I could definitely see those three picks as well. Or, if Smith is gone/they like Manuel or Scott more, they should trade down and grab Vaccaro in the 1st. That way in the 2nd, they could grab Armstead and either an OLB or big WR with their extra pick. I believe with so many former college coaches on staff, there will be plenty of bargains to be found in later rounds.

    • http://www.jhkayejr.com Joseph Kaye

      I’m ready to hop on the Honey Badger train, too – third round might be a bit high, but I don’t see him lasting til the fourth.

    • Token

      Tyrann is going to be a corner in the NFL.

      • Richard Colton

        You and Dutch are both right – I just see “playmaker”

    • Richard Colton

      I like all your picks – but the complaint if the Eagles go in this direction will be “overdrafted.” I’d love this draft if you told me the birds got Terron in round #3 and HB in round #4.

  • Engwrite

    I hope all the commenters and the pundits quoted above realize all this is nonsense. Everyone was really pleased when they traded Kolb for DRC. We gushed when they outbid the Cowboys and the Jets to sign Nnamdi Asomugha, by consensus the second best corner in the league. I also was delighted when they signed Jim Washburn, the first ‘real’ DL coach in a long time. So, all this nonsense (along with the forthcoming draft evaluations and the ‘stars’ whose discovery we’ll hear about in training camp) I see as an attempt at staying entertained till the season (real games) starts. One big difference is that the pundits are getting paid to spout their learned nonsense.

    • knighn

      Easy there. Most of us were ecstatic when the Eagles had their off-season in 2011. I don’t think any of us here have that mindset now. I personally believe that half of these new players are going to fail miserably and the other half are going to be solid contributors, whether they are starters, role players or key special teamers. And you know what? I’m OK with that. Because those 4 or so players that work out represent a significant upgrade to this team. So I am OK, but far from gushing and definitely NOT ecstatic!

    • bentheimmigrant

      Well… yeah? Pundits basically try to predict the future. It’s kinda impossible.

  • Max Lightfoot

    I admit that I still reserve judgment on Chip Kelly, as Gus Bradley was my first choice. And, as John Clayton writes, you can expect new coaches to make a big splash, which explains much of this recent flurry. But I AM encouraged to see Kelly get rid of nonproductive players and replace them with more aggressive personalities during free agency.

    The problem with Andy Reid is that he COULD NOT admit making mistakes, which is why he kept all those failed draft picks on hand, hoping they could turn it around. Of course, all NFL head coaches do this.

    But this is why I believe that Chip will draft the QB he likes, no matter WHERE he is in the draft (maybe Geno Smith at No. 4) – because Kelly has to draft the one HE wants, and not use Andy’s West Coast model of a QB (Nick Foles). It’s that simple. He wants a read/option guy, win or lose. He may keep Foles as a backup if he’s better than Dixon, but the No. 3 QB will be a draft choice groomed to take over later in the 2013 season. So I’m trusting Chip, at least this far. I hope he turns this team around, and if he does I’ll be his fan. Actually, we have no choice but to trust Chip Kelly at this point, do we?

    Still, I’m hoping that he addresses the O-line early in the draft because we need some depth. It’s gonna be exciting, no matter how you look at it!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.borek Joe Borek

    Trade down and draft Ansah