Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com chimes in on Riley Cooper’s return:
We had a wonderful national conversation about racism thanks to Cooper, dividing into the usual camps and defending our familiar territories. Once again, we were both too eager to attack and too enthusiastic in defense, too loud while trying to win arguments to listen for quieter wisdom. America proved once again that we do not communicate about race very well. Casual expressions of racial hatred continue to be a big deal because so many people insist that they are no big deal, yet making even bigger deals about them brings us no closer to understanding, tolerance or unity.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com offers his thoughts on Cooper returning:
As I’ve said a few times, I don’t get what’s so special about Cooper as a player that warrants this headache. He doesn’t seem perceptibly better than the other replacement-level receivers they have on the roster, even with starter Jeremy Maclin out for the season with a torn ACL.
But it’s not my team. It’s Chip Kelly’s and Howie Roseman’s and above all else Jeffrey Lurie’s. And those guys have decided that Cooper is important enough to their 2013 chances that they need him around and the best thing for them is to work through the current issues and reach a point at which Cooper can play with and for the Eagles. If they didn’t think that, he’d likely be gone.
Austin Murphy of SI.com checks in on Nnamdi Asomugha:
“Everything was different,” he recalled before a recent Niners practice. “We were coming off that lockout year, so everything was tough.” Without benefit of minicamps or a real training camp, he was thrown into the deep end of an ill-fated schemed dubbed the “The Wide Nine,” the brainchild of first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. “The defensive staff was brand new,” said Asomugha, “most of the players were brand new. It took longer than we wanted for the communication and all that stuff to start working.”
Josh Katzowitz of CBSSports.com thinks a four-day leave for Cooper is a joke:
Four days of absence, to me, is a joke. If four days is all it takes to clean out your system and remake yourself as a more tolerant person, I have to believe that you didn’t have much interest in changing yourself in the first place.
But hey, if the team’s winning and Cooper is contributing, I’m sure Cooper’s teammates will be OK with it (to hear Cooper tell it, though, maybe the four days away was better for him than I’m implying).
Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld.com takes a look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for DeSean Jackson:
Best Case: Andy Reid is gone with the wind — and so is the stagnation in Jackson’s game. Always a moveable chess piece, Jackson is finally treated like one in Chip Kelly’s offense, unleashing his inner Percy Harvin (albeit, with less broken tackles). Jackson’s 1,300 yards from scrimmage are a new career high, as are his 11 total touchdowns.
Worst Case: Jackson simply isn’t physical enough for Kelly’s system. He breaks his hand on a block in Week 4, missing three games and quelling Kelly’s dream. Jackson is a moveable chess piece, alright, but only a rook. He’s a frustrating WR3.
Jason Smith of NFL.com has Eagles-Patriots as one of his 10 preseason games to watch:
This will be our first glimpse at Chip Kelly’s offense in a game situation. Can he really run a play every 12 seconds like he wants to? Are the Eagles well conditioned enough to execute it? Everyone is eager to see if the latest “it” college offense can translate into the NFL. And the happiest guy in the world will be Donovan McNabb, because you know what he’ll be saying during the game: “Man, I hope someone throws up so people can stop asking me why I puked in the Super Bowl. Ooh, LeSean’s taking his helmet off! Come on, dude, do it!”
Judy Battista of NFL.com says the Patriots have provided a roadmap for the Eagles:
The Patriots and Eagles are practicing together this week before playing a preseason game Friday night. The Hernandez situation might have already encouraged teams to dig deeper into players’ backgrounds before drafting them, and Patriots management might still face more questions about what it knew of Hernandez when he was with the team. But for now, as the Eagles try to move on from their own firestorm — albeit about a far less devastating situation than Hernandez’s — the Patriots have provided a roadmap.
Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus is not sold on the Eagles’ secondary:
While I’m more optimistic than most about the offense, I’ve got real concerns about the opposite side of the ball, particularly in the secondary. With Kenny Phillips still playing on the second team it leaves a starting safety combination of Nate Allen and Patrick Chung. Combine that with Cary Williams and Brandon Boykin at corner (and no clear nickel back unless Bradley Fletcher comes back to play the outside) and you have possibly the thinnest secondary in the NFL this year.