Weekend Reading: Eagles Are NFL’s ‘Biggest Mystery’

Rounding up links today for some Eagles weekend reading…

SI.com’s Don Banks hands out his offseason superlatives. He names the Eagles as his biggest mystery team:

With a minimum of eight new starters, a rookie NFL head coach, and someone other than Andy Reid calling the shots in Philly for the first time since Bill Clinton was in his second term, the Eagles have more unknowns than any team in the league. New is everywhere you look in Philadelphia — which is the newest development of all for a team that had led the league in stability for seemingly forever.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 23rd in his power rankings:

Philadelphia is yet another club that just completed an exemplary draft. Whether or not you’re on the Matt Barkley train, the fact this team got him at 98th overall is notable. Philadelphia filled needs all over the place with savvy picks, starting, of course, with offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who should step in and start immediately. Tight end Zach Ertz should get on the field plenty, whether he starts or not. Ditto Bennie Logan on the defensive line.

The 2013 draft is now in the rear-view mirror, which means it’s OK to talk about 2014 prospects. Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com put out a list of his top-50 prospects. His top-rated QB is Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater:

A tough-minded, intelligent passer, Bridgewater has the athleticism, arm strength and overall “feel” that NFL scouts look for in the position.

Bridgewater (6-3, 220) completed 68.5 percent of his passes last year for 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He’ll be a junior in 2013.

Another name to keep an eye on is Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (6-1, 225). Boyd is No. 4 on Josh Norris’ Rotoworld list of top senior prospects:

No one improved more between the 2011 and 2012 season than Boyd. Last year he was able to recognize and avoid pressure much more efficiently while making better decisions downfield. Boyd likely would have been my top QB in the 2013 Draft.

Boyd, a true dual-threat option, completed 67.2 percent of his attempts for 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 514 yards and 10 TDs.

And finally, there’s Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN.com takes a look at Manziel’s NFL potential and reveals that the QB has huge hands and has studied Michael Vick:

A&M quarterbacks coach Tom Rossley, who spent 10 years coaching in the NFL and served as Favre’s offensive coordinator in Green Bay, told Aggiesports.com, “[Manziel] has huge hands and I can’t tell you how important that is in the NFL. He has a quick release and is a lot more accurate than given credit for. I don’t see his size being a hindrance. He is bigger than Russell Wilson and bigger than Drew Brees. I think he can be better.”

Manziel has only played one year, but is eligible for the draft after 2013 because he red-shirted in 2011.

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  • GEagle

    Chip’s interview with Cataldi, will give you chills. he talks about his feelings on what kind of 2013 season we can have…and all I will say, is he doesn’t sound like a man who’s expecting or will accept going 4-12, first year rookie coach be damned

  • GEagle

    love how everyone just assumes that we don’t have a franchise QB on our roster. I think there is a better chance than people realize, of us not drafting a QB again next year until round 4…95% Of players ever drafted in the first 4rounds, have had a skill set that has been successful in the NFL,,whether a player has the Charecter and football intelligence to achieve that potential, and become a successful NFL player, none of us will ever know until we see a young Qb get extended playing time for ATleast 2 seasons, because we aren’t privy to practice footage…so it’s silly for anyone to write off Foles or Barkley at this point…for all any of us know, those two could end up being our 1st and 2nd string QBs for the next decade…can’t wait to see how much these two kids improve from one year to the next…
    …..Can the preseason ever be this exciting again?…no matter what 3QBs play during the preseason, I will be glued to my seat like its the playoffs…I can’t say I ever felt that way before

    • joethomas215

      This preseason will definitely be very exciting, I feel like Foles or Barkley or both are gonna surprise people

      • GEagle

        Agreed…it’s not going to be very often that the preseason has juice…so I’m excited about being excited lol about football a month earlier than we normally would…Foles is certainly gng to open some eyes, and Barkley could surprise us and be ready faster than we think..I don’t know if Barkley will be the best QB in this draft, but I think, Barkley is by far the QB who would be most game ready in September, just because ha has that Qb intelligence and intangibles over the likes of Geno and EJ……I also think the steelers drafting Landry jones to apprentice under Big Ben was a brilliant move…I forget where Glennon ended up

        • Brent E. Sulecki

          TB for Glennon..Schiano apparently recruited him when in college. like you said about Landry i think this is smart move as well. not as great as the Landry one..but its good if they dont go long term on Freeman

          • GEagle

            thanks…I think they clearly want an escape clause for Freeman…TB wanted to trade for Foles, they ended up drafting the kid,..Im sure they like freeman to an extent, but his future as the franchise guy does not seem to be set in stone

    • Token

      They have a year to prove themselves. If not, trade up for Bridgewater.

      Ive watched what I could of Darron Thomas lead Ducks. Barkley or Foles could run that offense.

      Then its a matter of is their level of skill high enough to succeed in the NFL.

      • Logan from V-tech is a good prospect.

        • JofreyRice

          I was so disappointed by Logan Thomas this year. He really looked lost out there at times. I’ve questioned myself, am I just projecting this guy as being good because he looks like an NFL QB, or is there really talent there? Good move for him to stay in school, but he’s really going to have to turn a corner to be in the same league as all the other QB talent in this year’s class.

        • Jason N.

          I was disappointed in Logan Thomas too. Being a native Virginia guy and who follow Virginia tech football.

          Thomas and Tajh Boyd are the two guys in not sold on.

          I saw half or the Clemson’s games.

          And the Clemson vs. Virginia game was hard to watch because both quarterback played pretty badly.

          Next year is a good class for QB. Unless they improve, I want a clear cut prospect. Like Bridhwater or maybe David Fales

      • GEagle

        Which is why we should use this year to find out what we have

      • hokieduck

        Go to youtube and watch Mariota. He is for real.

    • No matter what I have only one round one target next year and I don’t care what we have to trade to get there. CLOWNEY

      • GEagle

        I hear you…If we can’t get in range to get Clowney, I would love ÜBER TE to pair with Ertz(Austin Serfian Jenkins)..see ya Brent lol

        I’m so happy to have Lane instead of Fish n Joekel..and Ertz instead of Eifert…and Barkley instead of Geno

      • Clowney is one of those once in a generation type players, it’ll cost us a fortune to get him, assuming anyone would even want to trade down.

        • Token

          Could be a great player. But when is the last time a defensive player won you a superbowl? Its just not how the league is now.

          Id hope teams get caught up in trading up for him and we are able to get up for Bridgewater relatively cheap.

          • Jason N.

            If Foles and Barkley doesn’t work out. Bridgewater is the only guy I want.

            I’m still on the fence about Manziel and David Fales.

            Not sold at all on Tajh Boyd.

        • I’m okay with that. I was just looking at our 2011 draft, the draft where JJ Watt went at pick 11, that year we drafted Watkins, Jarrett, Marsh, and Matthews. I would trade them all in for Watt.

          • That would be a start. You’d also be looking at the next years 1st. and probably some more. It would be similar to the Washington – St.Louis trade. If it was a QB I’d be more willing to do it, but until we have a franchise QB I’d rather the picks.

    • Idb

      Here’s a pretty good assumption. We don’t have a franchise qb. And conducting yourself as if you do is penny wise and pound foolish.

      • hokieduck

        I think you may very well have the best of situations. I think that Mike Vick has demonstrated a pre-season renaissance. From his decision to stay, to his attitude this Spring to his work with the track coach back in Va Beach (which included boxing to learn how to minimize the effects of hits). The guy wants this. He likes and respects Chip and he is psyched to play in this new system.

        I think he gives the Eagles two solid years which gives the Eagles two solid years to adjust to the new schemes and bring along the QBs or draft a QB next year or the year after.

    • Jason N.

      I rarely agree with you Geagle. But this I agree.

      I think either Foles or Barkley will work out, I personally like both of them. Hard working guy, play smart and good locker room presence.

      If they can prove themselves and get very good. Then we don’t need a Manziel or Bridgewater.

      But if they don’t work out. I’d love for us to somehow get our hands on Bridgewater or David Fales.

      I’m not sold on guys like Boyd or Thomas from Virginia Tech at all.

      • hokieduck

        Admittedly, I am a Duck homer, but you need to watch Marcus Mariota. He is a better *quarterback* than Manziel. He is a passer first, runs through his progressions, is accurate, has a big arm, can throw accurately going to his right or to his left, and finally has the jets and elusiveness combined with a solid understanding/practice of getting down and under hits in the open field. He is not the open field runner that Manziel is… he is just the better quarterback, IMO. He is 6’4″ and 215# vs 6’1″ 200#. He had a better QB rating than Manziel, more TDs passing and fewer INTs. He only ran the ball 98 times vs 201 by Manziel who seemed to run if his first target was covered whereas MM went through his progressions far better.

        MM was selected MVPQB at the June 2010 Nike football camp which Manziel also attended. Johnny Manziel was committed to Oregon up until Oregon offered Mariota. That is when he pulled out of his commitment and went to TAMU. MM is a very smart, high character football guy; you won’t see him making an a$$ of himself on Twitter or in casinos. He is football. He will be a great pro.

        OK, I am a homer. But this kid is for real. You can even see it in his HS recruitment footage on Youtube.

        • Jason N.

          Don’t worry man. I know quite a bit about Mariota.

          Him, Bridgewater and Fales are on my top tier quarterback for next year.

          Boyd, Manziel and Thomas are my 2nd Tier.

  • JofreyRice

    Some faulty reasoning there by Elliot Harrison. If you’re not “on the Matt Barkley train”, or in other words, you don’t think he’ll be a good NFL QB, then how is getting him in the 4th round some masterful coup of draft day maneuvering? Barkley doubterss think we just added another backup level QB in the fourth round…big whoop.

  • ThanksUnclePhil

    Marcus Mariota, our qb here in Duckland (Eugene, OR home to TrackTownUSA and The Mighty Oregon Ducks) is the guy you Eagle fans should follow….

    • cliff henny

      him and bridgewater would be my early favs. have manzeil 3rd, while it’s fun to watch, seems like a lot of streetball, just not sure how it’ll translate to pros. 4th is 2 i’ve only heard about, braxton miller (hate OSU but will watch games to see if he’s a contender-also urban’s spread is nothing like Oregon’s) and a kid out of fresno(?-is that right? havent seen him, heard nice things). last, taj boyd, he’s always is tossed in mix. live in SC watched everygame of his, i dont see it. clemson has USoCal talent skill position players and wide open offense, he’s going to put up crazy numbers. but he’s not in bridgewater, manzeil or marioti’s league. boyd will make plays than will have you scratching your head wonder what in the heck is he seeing out there.

      • hillbillybirdsfan

        I concur on Taj. A solid 3-5 brain farts a game, and he gets away with most of them. If you could eliminate them somehow he does have an awesome skill set. The problem is that it’s very hard to tell by watching the games if he’s just an over-eager kid or a dumb-dumb.

  • JofreyRice

    I’m not a big fan of the Barkley move, myself, but I found this to be an interesting read regarding how he’ll fit into the Kelly offense (I know, I know, it’s inscrutable and only whispered about behind closed doors).


    • UKEagle99

      Nice read, thanks for sharing. So the basic premise is that the receiver gets the ball in a sweet catchable spot, in stride, leading him to open ground? Sounds weird, what’s wrong with them picking it off their shoe laces, cuts down on INTs that way.

      • Geagle

        These are some interesting stats provided by Tommy Law(Eaglesblog.net) via Cecil Lammey on twitter:

        since start of 2011 season Matt Barkley threw 24TDs of 20 or more yards, with only 2INTs on throws of such distance


        when Matt Barkley did miss on deep passes he was 4X more likely to overthrow histarget than underthrow him 40.8% completion 20+ yds


        by comparison, Andrew Luck in L2Y of college had 43.1% comp on passes 20+ yds (13TD, 5INT), RG3 38.2% comp (33TD, 5INT)


        Matt Barkley completed over 65% of his passes w/23TDs 3INTs when outside the pocket in his career, incl 16TDs on designed roll outs


        For his career, Matt Barkley threw 44TDs and 6INTs when opponents blitzed, quick decisions key in Chip Kelly system

    • Doctor Rick

      Yeah, Barkley makes it more interesting.
      The offense will be some variation of the zone read, spread offense to get the ball to players in space, with enough QB presence to keep the LBs and D line honest. The cool thing about that offense is that it can be run from multiple formations with mobile and non mobile QBs, ranging from the Pistol with Kaepernick, or shotgun with Russell Wilson, to Pro Set with Tom Brady. Kaepernick and Wilson can run, but Brady just moves the pocket. Other commonalities include tempo control, timing and accuracy. A QB like Foles or Barkley would be more Brady like, while MV can run.

      Thanks to all the long time Philly folks who have suddenly found out they have a lot of Duck relatives showing up at the party. Go Eagles!

      • hokieduck

        Here is one Duck who now counts as an Eagle fan!

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    If you look at the offense like a prospect you might say a prospect has a “high ceiling”. Vick has the highest ceiling in this offense because of his ability to run. Chip will pull for Mike but will inevitably will pick the best QB who can make the throws.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    Given the fact that it’s way too early to decide on since the pro and college seasons haven’t been played yet, I can’t say we’ll need one of these guys. If we do, I actually have a good feeling about Mariota. Should be a very interesting year!

  • Wow I just looked back at the 2011 draft and that could be the worst in franchise history…1) Watkins 2) J Jarrett 3) C Marsh 4) C Matthews.

    • Jason N.

      Yup. Everyone in the 1st 4 rounds are either backups or gone.

      Horrible draft.. Thank god Andy Reid left us with a pretty good 2012 draft and not screw us over even more.

  • Go Birds

  • BrandonS

    If we can somehow get manziel next year with an RG3 like trade(assuming eagles don’t have a top ten pick next year) then the franchise will be set up for YEARS, seeing the way Johnny manziel plays with his deadly speed and accuracy the dude could be a star in the NFL under chip Kelly