What They’re Saying About the Eagles

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

With Jeremy Maclin out, the pressure’s on DeSean Jackson, writes ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox:

With Maclin out, Jackson is going to have to be something he never has been before: a leader. He is an emotional player who in the past has not shown a willingness to fight through adversity. He tuned Reid out. Vick often had to act as a buffer to try to keep Jackson’s head in the game, but now it is not even a lock that Vick will be the starting quarterback.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland weighs in on the Maclin injury:

The Maclin injury is disappointing in a different way. The good news is that Maclin should be able to return from the injury for a second time; he tore his ACL before his freshman year at Missouri in 2006 and redshirted before posting a 1,055-yard season the following year. It’s distressing to see a player suffer the same injury to the same knee, but the previous injury happened seven years ago, so let’s hope that it doesn’t become a more chronic injury.

SI.com’s Peter King offers his thoughts on Maclin:

What’s most hurtful about Maclin’s being lost for the season with a torn ACL after collapsing at practice Saturday is that Eagles coach Chip Kelly needs the quickness and playmaking Maclin surely would have provided the offense. Now Kelly will have to find it in a far less experienced player like Riley Cooper. This increases the pressure on DeSean Jackson to be a home-run hitter. I remember talking to one NFL GM last fall about Kelly’s strengths. The GM said one of the reasons Kelly would be in such high demand in the NFL is because at Oregon he consistently took players other colleges didn’t want and turned them into high-functioning contributors in a fast-paced offense. I wouldn’t count out the Eagles. I just figure Kelly will use the summer to test two or three guys down the depth chart (Greg Salas, Cooper, Arrelious Benn) and find a way to make plays.

Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders/ESPN.com ranks teams based on 25-and-under talent. He’s got the Eagles at No. 23:

About the only two young players who didn’t plateau last season were Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. Cox turned in a promising season as a run-stopper, and Graham resurrected his career with 5.5 sacks and 26 hurries in a very limited role off the bench. The Eagles had a lot of other young players surface last season, but most of them didn’t play beyond replacement level. Bryce Brown made a strong run at looking like a promising young back, but he was hit and fumbled it.

Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has Bryce Brown ranked sixth on his list of breakout players:

It has been a long and winding road to the NFL for Brown, who was the No. 1 running back prospect in the nation in high school but lost most of his college career to transfers and revoked scholarships. He needs to work on fumbling issues — he had four last year on just 115 carries — but we expect Chip Kelly to run the ball a lot in Philadelphia, which means playing time for Brown even if McCoy stays healthy all year.

Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com says Donovan McNabb is a true Philly legend:

McNabb is a true Philly Legend, which is different from being a true legend. Philly Legends flirt with excellence early in their career, bringing the city within a boarding-school reach of a championship. Then they linger in the lineup for epochs as they slowly fade, accumulating the scorn and frustration of decades of sports disappointment like an old slice of wedding cake absorbing onion smells in the freezer. Every 25 years or so, a Philly Legend accidentally wins a championship, but it doesn’t change the narrative much: you aren’t a Philly Legend until the whole Delaware Valley is ready for you to go away. And then you come back.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

Chip Kelly’s camp will bring a lot of new things. Will it bring a new starting quarterback?

Robert Mays of Grantland names Evan Mathis as one of the 22 most under-appreciated players in the league:

Clearly, Mathis stands to gain from claiming that time at his gym led to the best physical condition of his life — but the results are there. His 2011 season was the best of his career by far. Along with the physical changes, Mathis’s time in Philadelphia came with an offensive-line education that outdid anything he’d gotten in his previous NFL stops. That season was the first in Philadelphia for offensive line coach Howard Mudd, a man who, at the time, had 38 years of experience teaching the art of the block. “I think I was able to make up for all of those lost years earlier in my career just by being able to learn from him,” Mathis says.

And in case you missed it from the Wake-Up Call, Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal :

As Kelly mans his first full week of NFL training camp, installing a high-revving Ferrari engine into the Eagles’ offense, league insiders say there are exactly zero indications NFL referees will be willing participants in the Kelly era. The NFL, they say, has a long-standing pace at which they do things between plays and the referees “aren’t going to change just to accommodate someone’s offense,” said Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating who is now an analyst for Fox Sports.

“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo, our officials do,” said NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren’t going to rush [unless] it’s in the two minute drill.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    Mathis may be under appreciated in the national scene, but Philly fans know and appreciate him. He’s one of my favorite Eagles, on and off the field.

    • Dutch

      Mathis lucked up coming to Philly. Mathis arrived when Mudd signed on and as a result was here when the foundation for zone blocking was implemented. Mathis had up to that point been plugged into the wrong blocking schemes for his skill set at every stop he played. Mathis is a fitness offensive linemen, he’s not much on power driving in the run game but he can get angles to slow a defenders’ pursuit because he’s quick footed. Also, Mathis foot work helps keep him in front of inside pass rushers. He’s not over powering but he can get to the spot and delay pursuit and that’s all Vick and Shady or Brown needs.

    • bsn

      His twitter account is pure gold.

  • EaglefaninAZ

    Mike Tanier nailed it. Lol…

  • nicksaenz1

    I’m just happy Sheil didn’t include any of the crap Mosher said that I, for reasons unbeknownst to me, read on Yahoo from SB Nation. Complete and utter garbage.

  • Max Lightfoot

    Awesome quote from Mike Tanier:

    “Then Philly sports legends linger in the lineup for epochs as they slowly fade, accumulating the scorn and frustration of decades of sports disappointment like an old slice of wedding cake absorbing onion smells in the freezer.”

  • Scott J610

    I love how dweebs like Tanier think Philly is completely different from every other city in America. Apparently we’re the only city that boos, the only city that throws snowballs, and now we’re the only city that’s been disappointed with our superstar athletes.

    • Andrew

      You do realize that Tanier is from Philly and is a Philly fan?

      • Scott J610

        Which makes him an even BIGGER dweeb.

  • G_WallyHunter

    Yup for sure, Desean needs to step up regardless if he wants that 10.5 million (or whatever it is) next year…. I was pointing more to the points about CK turning nobodies (Shepard, Momah, Johnson) into great contributors…. then I believe Maclins absence would be barely noticed if he got all these backups to step up..

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

    Amen, Don. It’s an embarrassment to the league they even said something like that. Last time I checked both teams get the ball on offense, so any unfair advantage the league feels a team may get by using a fast paced offense is a moot point. If the other team doesn’t feel the need to run a hurry up than that’s their problem.

  • UKEagle99

    Totally agree. If a comment like that was made in the English Premiership then there would be a right to do! The fact that the Premiership players are all overpaid, cheating prima donnas is moot, officials just can’t offer opinion one way or another, it has to come from the regulator, in this case the NFL. I’d love to know if there is anything in the rules about tempo or whether Dean Blandino is worried his department lacks the innovation to get his guys ‘up to speed’…