Eagles Wake-Up Call: Morning Mailbag

chip-kelly-win-in-nfl-marqueeThis is history in the making. For the first time in Birds 24/7′s existence we’re combining the Wake-Up Call with the Twitter Mailbag. Sports journalism in this town may never be the same again. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From aerelorn: If we don’t see any improvement from Foles/Barkley this year, but our pick is too high for the top 2-3 QBs, what’s the plan?

I think the Eagles are going to be very aggressive in pursuit of a quarterback this offseason.


If Chip Kelly didn't know it coming in, it's ultra clear to him now that you are toast in this league if you don't have a franchise quarterback. Might sound oversimplified, but it's proven true time and time again (with a few exceptions along the way). No matter how brilliant the coaching mind or innovative the scheme, your team will have a hard time rising above mediocrity without a capable conductor.

(Quick quiz: Name the five quarterbacks that started for Nick Saban in his two years in Miami? If you guessed Joey Harrington, Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels, Cleo Lemon and Daunte Culpepper, you win a limited-edition Sheil Kapadia bobblehead. Remember to include that  nugget the next time you're in a 'Saban sucked in the NFL' conversation.)

Kelly will not be long for this league if he doesn't resolve the QB issue. If only it were so easy. There have been franchises that have spent decades searching for "the guy." I'm thinking the Eagles take a big swing. Maybe they package a ton of picks to move down in the draft, maybe they trade for a quarterback. Not sure how it happens but they will make a splash.

From @kuhndogg864: I know he doesn't have a QB or all the players he needs but doesn't explain the terrible play calls. How can Chip be so green?

A lot of it does go back to the quarterbacks. It was a credit both to Kelly and Nick Foles that the offense continued to hum with Foles under center -- until it totally clunked out against Dallas. And last week featured Michael Vick on one leg and a wide-eyed Matt Barkley. 

That said, Kelly's insistence on running the read option with Vick out of the game is puzzling. Defenses are crashing down on McCoy and it  just hasn't been as effective.

"First of all, I don't necessarily agree with that," said Pat Shurmur. "I think when you read a defender, you can do other things with the football if you can't run it.  You can flip it out on the perimeter.  You can run it with anybody.  You just may not get the same amount of yards you would get if a guy is a better runner.  And there are a lot of times when we're not reading it."

There is no disputing that the results haven't been there of late, and that adjustments are needed. This is a pretty good offensive line (on paper at least) and LeSean McCoy is one of the best backs in the league and yet the operation has stalled in recent weeks. Kelly has to make some tweaks to what has become a predictable and solvable run attack minus Vick.

From @kwalsh2: why did the eagles aquire James Casey? Seems as though they don't use him other than special teams.

Maybe this is one way Kelly and Shurmur can adjust. The Eagles were rolling with a lot of three-receiver, single tight-end sets because their run game was working very well without the extra bulk in the lineup. Not a lot of reason to switch out of the "11 personnel" if it is working for you and drawing the matchups you're looking for. McCoy, though, has been held to 55 yards or less in three of his last four outings. It may be time to deploy more two and three tight-end sets to give the offense a different look and add some power to the run game. The Eagles invested a good amount of money in James Casey and a high draft pick on Zach Ertz. There is little reason why they shouldn't get bigger roles, particularly given the depth issues at wide receiver.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Foles is trying to bounce back from a rough week.

The Eagles made the lone trade before the deadline, dealing Isaac Sopoaga to the Patriots. 

Barkley says he is like a shark that has smelled his first blood.

The Eagles fielded some offers but ultimately did not trade Vinny Curry.

Sheil hands out some midterm grades.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Phil Sheridan wonders if we've seen the last of Vick in an Eagles uniform.

And that was it. Vick retreated to the bench and put a towel over his head. The TV cameras caught him looking stricken or being consoled by teammates as Matt Barkley operated the offense.

Vick understands the situation. After this miscalculation and reinjury, he will likely take longer to rehab the hamstring this time. Factor in the Eagles' bye week and it could be over a month before Vick is able to play. By then, with perhaps four games left, what would be the point of going back to the 33-year-old with the expiring contract?

DeSean Jackson is holding out hope that this team can make the playoffs. From John Gonzalez.

The Giants have won their last two games, but they started the season 0-6. Washington is 2-5 and still hasn’t beaten an NFC East opponent. And the Cowboys lead the division, but they’re 4-4. That puts Dallas only one game ahead of the Eagles in the standings.

“That’s definitely a goal, for us to make the playoffs,” Jackson said. “Throughout the locker room, the guys here, we haven’t made the playoffs the past two years. It’s just an inner goal that we put on each other. Like you say, no one in this division has really separated themselves. It’s a tight division. We just want to do everything we can to take advantage of that, and at the same time hopefully we can be one of the teams standing in the NFC East toward the end of the season. That’s just where our mindset is and that’s what we want to do."

COMING UP

We'll speak to Kelly this morning. Practice starts at 10:55.

  • knighn

    The Eagles got a 5th for Sopoaga? That might just be enough to “Shock The World”.

    • FluxCapacitor

      They also gave up a 6th I believe. So Sop allowed us to jump up a round from the 6th to the 5th.

      • Andy124

        Yeah, general consenus is that we moved up 10-15 spots at the end of the draft.

        • knighn

          Bottom line: the Eagles got something for Isaac Sopoaga. Pretty shocking.

          • theycallmerob

            that’s pretty much where I’m at, too….could not see any situation where Soap was staying on after this season. And with NE losing receivers and o-linemen to injury, maybe their pick won’t be so high after all.

          • knighn

            First: not sure why someone would down-arrow this? Did you initially say something very offensive and then change it?!
            Second: Not only could I not see Soap stay after this season, I was at the point where I was wondering if he should be taking up snaps this season.

          • Andy124

            Can’t pay too much attention to down arrows. People get downvotes based on previous disagreements or personalities.

            GEagle is the king of unearned downvotes. anon has a couple above for no apparent reason. Big Butt earns most of hers :) but gets plenty on her harmless posts too. I get a kick out of it honestly.

          • Brian

            Had to.

          • Andy124

            You just made the list, fella.

          • Brian

            Lol

          • theycallmerob

            Bingo. And the downvotes started yesterday, some folks are allergic to reason. I love my haters

          • Andy124

            downvote for love

          • cliff henny

            PM should tell you who downvotes just like it does upvotes…at least man up and reply to a person you down vote.

          • theycallmerob

            All things considered, for an internet comment section this is pretty tame/rational/peaceful

          • cliff henny

            yup…i go on philly.com 3 times a day just to make sure it gets it’s hits…dont want that site shutting down and those trolls finding their way over here

          • Richard Colton

            downvote for saying philly.com

          • Andy124

            You know why.

          • theycallmerob

            Hahahahah, you’re killing me on this thread!

          • defroe81

            a lot of people knew about philly mag through philly.com when sheil left i have been coming here for a while and still go to philly.com. sorry your attempts have failed…

          • Andy124

            But at least you’re not CG25, Lonewolf, allworld or panthro.

          • Chris

            I don’t comment a ton but always read, but man just reading the philly.com comments is enough to keep me off that site. most people here have reasonably rational conversations – i pick up a decent amount just from the comments alone, and the articles are better than anywhere else. fun stuff!

          • Will

            Speaking of which thanks for all the love…lol…

          • defroe81

            its not me i cant downvote

    • Will

      Really disappointing they didn’t do more to move player’s and pick up picks…

      • knighn

        Who could they have realistically moved that would have actually given them more value than what that player has for this team?

        • Will

          4-3 defensive guys….Graham….Trent Cole..besides that Howie’s job to figure out…

          • knighn

            Can’t realistically move Trent Cole… for anything. His salary based on what he provides as a pass rusher right now won’t even get you a 7th round pick.

            Brandon Graham still might have future value for the Eagles as a pass rusher. Right now: he has very little value to another team. He’s, at best, a rotational pass rusher, not a starter, and he’s already had microfracture surgery. So, what would the Eagles get for this former 1st round pick? A 7th round pick? Graham still might be an “OK” pass rusher here. Why give him up for a 7th?

            On top of this, if you move either Graham or Cole right now, you’re down to only 2 OLBs… in a 3-4 base defense. If you move both, you’re down to 1.

            So, once again: who could the Eagles have realistically moved and gotten more value than what that player has on this roster?!

          • Will

            Graham a 7th rd. don’t Agree there. Wow this team really is at a low if you can’t move player’s for picks…

          • knighn

            You may not agree, but that’s where he’s at right now. You’re not getting value for Graham… and you’d probably have to throw in a high draft pick just to get rid of Trent Cole based on his age, salary and production.
            You could get decent compensation for the best players: DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. After that, you’re probably not getting enough value to let the player go mid-season.

          • Will

            Those two are the only real talent on the whole team…..anyway thanks for the education and knowledge. next 2-3 seasons will be interesting as the roster slowly gets redone…Seems to me they have redone the D-Line and ST. Which leaves QB, O-Line, CB, FS and OLB’s. to be addressed….this secondary should be a priority to fix. By the way what could we get for Nate Allen?

          • knighn

            Agreed: those two are the only real talent on the whole team. The drop off from those guys to the rest of the team is very sharp. You have to have something to get something, which is why I was so suprised that the Eagles got something for Sopoaga, even if it was just a swap from 6th to 5th.

            I was probably exaggerating slightly with Graham and the 7th round pick, but only slightly. You’re probably not going to get a pick in rounds 1 through 4 for Graham… so the team probably keeps him and sees if he turns into something… anything! Unfortunately, it looks like his ultimate fate is to eventually be cut or have his contract just run out.

            Nate Allen… LOL. Maybe a team would trade you someone off of their practice squad… or maybe one of their water boys?

          • Will

            We need Cheerleader’s…

          • knighn

            A Cheerleader has more value than Nate Allen!

          • Will

            LMAO…

  • G_WallyHunter

    The Eagles invested a good amount of money in James Casey and a high draft pick on Zach Ertz. There is little reason why they shouldn’t get bigger roles, particularly given the depth issues at wide receiver.
    why I read every morning.. and something I question everyday..

  • anon

    Anyone think we take a look at Schaub if he gets fired?

    • anon

      Or jay cutler if he gets bounced out of chicago?

      • Andy124

        I’d rather go young.

        • nicksaenz1

          Cutler without big receivers isn’t a good QB. And since we don’t have any Marshalls or Jeffreys, I’d rather not waste time on him, either. Especially after he quit that NFC CG.

        • knighn

          Vince Young? Didn’t the Eagles already try that?!

          • Andy124

            I was thinking Steve. How perfect would he be for this offense?

          • knighn

            Steve Young, in his prime, would have been a fit for almost any offense! Unfortunately, Young is not so young anymore.

            Crazy to consider: most people think of Vick when they think of the best rushing QB of all time. Vick certainly has his rushing records. So does Young:
            - Most Rushing TDs by a QB – Career – 43
            - Most Rushing Yards by a QB, Postseason Career – 594
            - Most Rushing TDs by a QB, Postseason Career – 8
            - First Super Bowl MVP to be the leading passer and the leading rusher

            On top of this, Young still holds a number of passing records (and has one of the highest QB ratings of all time). So, yeah: get me a QB like Steve Young and I won’t have a problem with it, even if the guy has to struggle and serve as a backup for a few years (just like Young did).

          • Andy124

            Thing with Young is that he was a great passer of the football. If you’re a great passer, running ability is a great added dimension. If you’re not a good passer of the football, I couldn’t care less about your running ability.

          • knighn

            And this is why most of us don’t care about Tim Tebow…

          • Will

            Mariota fits the bill. How many QB’s sit out of the 4th quarter every college game with a lead? Unheard of…

          • Richard Colton

            he might. You want to say with certainty you know what a 20 year old kid will do in the NFL? I’m not feeling that bold today.

          • Will
          • knighn

            So, here are my questions with Mariota:
            - Can he actually play all 4 quarters in a 19-20 game season (including playoffs)?
            - Can he be clutch?

            I mean: I have absolutely no problem if he comes here to play for the Eagles and keeps blowing away opposing teams so badly that he can keep sitting in the 4th Q! Still, you would think, in the NFL, that he might occasionally need to play 4th Qs (and overtime) and he might occasionally need to be clutch!

      • defroe81

        oh god jay cuttler seriously… id rather take tebow lol

  • theycallmerob

    I agree with you, Tim, regarding Kelly’s likelihood to go after a QB. I can’t imagine any year where are coaches are this familiar with the prospects coming out, and if Kelly et al. have identified a guy I don’t doubt they go after him.
    Alternatively, if that isn’t possible, I hope to get at least a dominant rush OLB and a big-time receiver. That package might hold off some calling for Kelly’s head after 1 year.
    All in all, I think everyone can agree that the first half of the season revealed just how bare our talent cupboard is across the board.

  • GEAGLE

    Eagles won’t draft a QB this year…they would like to, but one they love won’t be available when we pick, and you will NOT see us trade away a ton of assets moving up to get one….not with the STUDS at other positions of need that will be available in round 1….this post is assuming FOles proves to ATleast be an adequate stop gap guy that can win games and hold down the fort until the draft when a QB that we love will be available when we pick….

  • GEAGLE

    Khalil Mack….come on down!!!!

  • Andy124

    I know we live in a rush to judgement culture. Everybody wants to be the first to predict the future so they can say I told you so and feel smart*, and they feel no real consequences for being wrong. Some of us preach patience, but it falls on deaf ears blind eyes. Maybe they’ll listen to Jason Avant.

    “I still believe in Nick,” Avant said. “One game doesn’t define you. Whether you blow it up and throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns or play badly, it’s not going to define you. It’s what you do over an extended period of time.

    “That’s when you begin to learn a person’s character and what type of player they are. Then you can make an educated assessment of a player rather than taking one game and saying, ‘I knew it. He’s not all that.’

    “We believe in [Foles]. We’ve been here every day with him. We’ve been in training camp with him. We were with him last year. He has the tools to be a really good player. And he’s refining those tools and doing everything he can to put himself in position to become the best player he can be. And hopefully, the best player on Sunday.”

    Just thought that was a pretty cool quote by Avant that I wanted to share here.

    *Note: That urge to feel smart is actually a hardwired survival mechanism. No shame in that. I saw it on tv, so it must be true.

    • knighn

      One smart fellow, he felt smart…

      • UKEagle99

        Two smart fellows; they felt smart…

        • Andy124

          Three smart fellows, they felt smart, and they all felt smart together.

          • UKEagle99

            Smells funny to me.

    • Brandon Boykin, OLB

      And just think… People still want to cut this guy.

      • cliff henny

        money…would you trade celek and avant for Byrd? or pick any por bowl safety. avant is a great guy, but slot recr needs more threat of YAC. ertz should be taking those tough middle catches he’s making, why you spend 2nd of TE.

        • nicksaenz1

          Definitely trade them for Byrd!

        • Brandon Boykin, OLB

          Nah I wouldn’t. I would not trade away the support that is offered, the training at the jugs machine, or the sure-handedness. Not yet anyway. The team is still rebuilding. I like having that veteran leadership until Chip’s way is the way.

    • southy

      Foles = the anti-Matt Flynn?

  • nicksaenz1

    I think that we only take a QB if moving to get him comes at the right price. If we draft in the mid teens and need to move up 10 spots to the 6th, such as the Cowboys did for Claiborne, I can see it, since it cost the Cowboys their 14th and 45th overall that same draft. If we’re trying to get into the top three or four, I can’t see us making the kind of RG3 trade that Washington made with St Louis, which was their 1st and 2nd in ’12, 1st in ’13 and ’14. And that was from the 6th slot. Coincidentally, it was that 6th slot that StL traded to Dallas. Point is, I just don’t see Howie giving up too too much. For as good as the QB class is said to be, no one seems to be comparing them to the class that had Luck and RG3, so hopefully moving up won’t be as costly as it was for Washington, if that’s the route we go in April (or is it May now?).

    • cliff henny

      think it might cost more. think it was aub32(apologize if giving wrong person credit-was good list) who had the list of 0-2 win teams last week that need qbs (teams most likely to pick b4 us at that current time)…it was half the league. plus, if trading partners see foles and barkley as backups for us, really weakens leverage. if you told me today that we could get 6th with 1st and 3rd, take that in a blink. 6th talking hundley and manziel-for time being, who knows in 6 months-i just cant even imagine what it’ll cost to get into top 2 or 3.

      • nicksaenz1

        Well, there’s a lot of time to figure all of that out. We’re one of 16 teams with 3 or less wins, but some of those teams have had their bye week already. If things don’t turn around for our O, which is very possible at this point, we’re looking at being in the top 12 maybe even top 10. Too hard to speculate that right now, though, with 8 games left. I think if teams see Foles or Barkley as backups, it doesn’t hurt leverage IMO, but if they see them as potential starters, it does. It’s very possible one of the two is dealt in the offseason which might reduce teams who feel they’re in need, and give us more ammo this draft. Who knows? Foles or Barkley putting it together for 4 or 5 of the last 8 games is a huge win for us no matter how you look at it. Either as potential starter for us, or trade bait. While I’m anti-tanking, it’d be great if they could manage to look great in a bunch of losses to advance our draft position and their value at the same time.

  • Will

    Mariota should be a QB Chip covets and at 20 years old Marcus is young enough to build a franchise around him which might take a few seasons. Bridgewater, Mariota should come off the draft board 1 and 2 . The Eagles may have to move up to the 2nd or 3rd pick to get him. The way the Eagles are playing we may end up with the 5th or 6th pick depending on how many wins by seasons end. I would be very surprised if Chip doesn’t pull out all the stops to nap Mariota as he has been the most successful QB running the Oregon Offense to date.

    • EaglePete

      doesnt matter who he covets, sometimes those teams wont trade no matter what you offer them. Remember, they are also looking for franchise QBs so it may not matter either way unless we lose out. Hope Im wrong but somehow I dont think so with this upcoming draft being so heavy with QB talent. With all the “experts” talking them all up it may be a run on QBs this time around. I hope Im wrong, this team needs one of those top 3 guys although Im not too sold on Johnny, I guess the only hope is hes the next Drew Brees but guys with that size dont usually pan out.

      • Will

        Totally Agree…QB run.. 5 QB’s in 1st and 2nd round picks out of all of them I don’t want Johnny either. One can hope. QB has clearly become our biggest need unless Foles proves to be serviceable….Washington went up for RGIII….it is what I have to look forward to going forward…if we finish 3-13 we may have a chance …I see us 5-11 by season end…. with squeaker wins by Washington and Minnesota….Jags,Tampa,Minn all need a QB and should pick before us…

  • B-West

    Anybody else catch the photos from Team Photo Day on the official website? Its worth a look… Travis Long is a goofy looking dude. And the lack of playing time may be changing James Casey to Evil James Casey.

  • BeeBe

    DJax +1

  • mksp

    Desean wants to make the playoffs but can’t get upfield and get one more yard on 3rd and 8. SMH.

    Realistically, to move up from say, 12th to 2nd in the 2014 NFL Draft its going to take your 2014 1st Round and 2nd Round picks, your 2015 1st Round + some other filler (2014 5th Round + 2015 4th Round?) In other words, a TON of picks. Risky business. Has not worked out for the Redskins IMO. Or Atlanta. Both those teams got franchise guys, but have a ton of other holes to fill.

    • EaglePete

      ??? Atl has been a contender for how many seasons. Sure theyve choked a few times prior to last season and this season is not going well, tons of injuries but dude, they are a top team. Also, look how long Skins have tried to find a QB. RG3 is still very good so they have someone to work with at least, more than most teams in the league. Both those teams made the right calls.

      • jabostick

        With the ATL situation, I think the argument isn’t around do you trade a bunch of picks for one guy, it’s do you pay a bunch of picks for a WR. You could probably make a case either way.

        Really, it all comes down to how well you draft anyway and what those extra picks end up being. It’s a gamble/crapshoot either way

        The Eli Manning-Rivers trade was a good example. Early on, it looked like a big-time win for the Chargers (stud OLB, pro bowl QB and K) but then looked like a better deal for NYG after a while.

  • PhillyFaninDenver

    I usually don’t leave comments, but I thought the read option was when you read an unblocked defensive player. For the most part when Foles and Barkley are in the game they don’t seem to be running the read option. It appears to me that they are running, straight running plays. It doesn’t appear that Foles or Barkley are reading anything on the run plays.