Eagles Wake-Up Call: Rookie Progress Report

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With five games in the books, now seems like as good a time as any to check in on the nine Eagles rookies.

Lane Johnson – He’s started every game and taken his lumps, specifically in pass protection. But Johnson is showing improvement in that area. Last week against the Giants was probably his best performance as a pass blocker all season. And he’s done a good job as a run blocker all year long. He’ll continue to make mistakes, but overall, Johnson looks like he has all the tools to become a very good player.

Zach Ertz – He has played 32 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. When targeted, Ertz has been productive. He has seven grabs on 11 targets for 150 yards. Ertz is averaging 21.4 yards per catch, and four of his receptions have gone for 20+ yards. Ertz was moved around quite a bit last week vs. the Giants. Given the issues that the Eagles have had with receivers struggling to get open, it makes sense for Ertz to see an expanded role in the coming weeks.

Bennie Logan – He’s played 31.3 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps, rotating in with the second-team defensive line. Logan has been quiet, tallying just six tackles (per coaches stats). But Chip Kelly said this week that the third-round pick is “really coming along.” Logan has played nose tackle and defensive end. He hasn’t shown much in the way of a pass rush, but did notch his first career sack late against the Giants.

Matt Barkley – T-Mac provided a detailed update on him yesterday. Barkley has yet to dress for a game, but there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be the backup this Sunday in Tampa.

Earl Wolff – He’s started the last two weeks and played significant snaps in four of five games. Wolff is making his share of mistakes on a weekly basis, but the coaches love his attitude and athleticism. Wolff has flashed at times. Against the Giants, he was manned up against Victor Cruz in the red zone on one play and showed he can cover, helping to force an incompletion. Wolff said this week he just needs to maintain proper eye discipline and focus on his assignments. At the very least, he’ll continue to be a part of the rotation at safety.

Jordan Poyer – The seventh-round pick got on the field in Week 1, playing some slot corner against the Redskins. Since then, it’s been a purely special teams role – well, kind of. Last week vs. the Giants, he didn’t get on the field at all in any capacity. Barring injuries to the guys ahead of him, Poyer might not have much of a role as a rookie.

Jake Knott – He’s rotated in at inside linebacker from time to time, having played 14 defensive snaps through five games. Knott is one of the core special-teams players. No one played more special teams snaps than Knott (29) last week. He has two special teams tackles in coverage.

Damion Square – He dressed for the first two games, but did not impress. Square was on the field for 26 snaps, but has been inactive for the last three contests as Vinny Curry joined the rotation. Square will get another chance if the Eagles suffer an injury to one of their defensive lineman.

Matt Tobin – The undrafted free agent (offensive tackle) has yet to be active for a game.

WHAT YOU MISSED

T-Mac has the injury report, which includes updates on Michael Vick and Brandon Boykin.

LeSean McCoy stands by his comment that Knowshon Moreno sucks. He thinks Doug Martin is pretty good though.

An All-22 look at the Eagles’ newest packaged play.

Lots of love for Nick Foles from the national media.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles 26th in his power rankings:

On the Kirk Cousins Perceived Trade Value scale, Nick Foles’ 197-yard, two-TD effort in Sunday’s win makes him worth a first-round pick, a third-round pick and a 12-inch Subway sub.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers thoughts on Brandon Graham’s performance last week:

Maybe his best game of the season. Came in at ROLB to open the 2nd Qtr. Covered TE on his first play. Jammed the TE and stuck with him in short area. Played some RDE late in the half. Had one good bull rush. Switched over to LDE inside the 2-minute mark. Blew by the RT and forced an incompletion. Lined up at RDE on 4th Qtr pass, but then slanted inside and drove the LG back toward Eli. Good power. On the next play drove the LT back to Eli. That forced the awkward throw that Cary Williams picked off.

COMING UP

One more day at NovaCare. We’ll have the latest from Kelly and the players. Plus, we’ll be at Smiths in Center City from 6 to 7 for Birds 24/7 on 97.5 The Fanatic. Stop by or tune in.

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