Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Youth Movement

Fletcher CoxAsk Howie Roseman about some of his young guys, and he’ll offer you this stat: The Eagles have 36 players on the active roster under the age of 26.

“That’s a lot,” the Eagles general manager said.

The Eagles, according to our friend Jimmy Kempski’s tabulations, began the season as the 10th youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.74. To break it down further, 15 of the 53 players on the roster (28 percent) right now are 23 or younger. It’s no secret what the Eagles plan is: go young, build through the draft and supplement the roster with veterans that can provide some guidance.




In order for that blueprint to work, of course, you need to hit on your draft picks. And while the jury is still out, early returns on the past two draft classes have generally been positive. Players like Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Bennie Logan and Earl Wolff are all making an impact in some way.

After too many swings and misses in the ’10 and ’11 drafts, the Eagles lost significant strength in their core. They’re trying to build that back up.

“We have a good group of scouts and we have a good connection in the building, personnel and coaching working together,” said Roseman. “And I think the process is good now. If you have a good process I think you get good results. It’s gotta be that way, it’s gotta start with that. You  have to pick the best players and not force anything, and if we continue to do that we’re going to have a good team.”

Here is the list Roseman referenced:

Name
Age
Starter
Bryce Brown 22N
Fletcher Cox 22Y
Matthew Tucker22N
Emmanuel Acho23N
Matt Barkley 23N
Brandon Boykin 23Y
Zach Ertz 23N
Lane Johnson 23Y
Dennis Kelly23N
Mychal Kendricks23Y
Jake Knott 23N
Bennie Logan23Y
Chris Polk23N
Matt Tobin23N
Earl Wolff 23Y
Nick Foles24Y
Najee Goode24N
Damaris Johnson24N
Jeff Maehl24N
Casey Matthews24N
Damion Square24N
Nate Allen 25Y
Roc Carmichael25N
Kurt Coleman 25N
Vinny Curry25N
Clifton Geathers25N
Brandon Graham25N
Curtis Marsh 25N
LeSean McCoy25Y
Cedric Thornton25Y
Patrick Chung26N
Riley Cooper26Y
Alex Henery 26--
DeSean Jackson26Y
Jason Kelce 26Y
Julian Vandervelde26N

(Note: We listed Wolff the starter over Chung, and put Boykin down as a starter because of his value to the secondary.)

-- Of this group, 20 can be considered regular contributors (not including special teams). Thirteen are starters.

-- The starting defensive line trio of  Cox, Logan and Thornton has an average age of 23 years old.

-- Michael Vick, Donnie Jones and Jon Dorenbos are the elder statesman on the team at 33 years of age.

-- Starting offensive linemen Evan Mathis (32), Todd Herremans (31) and Jason Peters (31) are next in line. Trent Cole is also 31.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Kapadia shows just how special LeSean McCoy has been lately with help from the All-22.

Chip Kelly's personality, potential issues in the run game and my day off, all covered in the latest Twitter Mailbag.

Sheil writes that the defense is beginning to form an identity. 

Nick Foles prop bets? Nick Foles prop bets.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Kevin Seifert over at ESPN.com on how critical McCoy has been to Foles' success:

I don't want to take anything away from Nick Foles, who is 4-1 as the Eagles' starter. He has thrown 16 touchdowns without an interception, but it's important to understand how much he has benefited from LeSean McCoy's NFL-leading 1,009 rushing yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, nine of Foles' touchdown passes have come among his 46 play-action attempts, an incredible ratio that doubles what we've seen this season from Peyton Manning (eight in 98 attempts), Russell Wilson (eight in 92) and Drew Brees (seven in 92).

Zach Berman writes that Boykin is making the most of his time on the field.

Boykin has played 56 percent of the defensive snaps this season. When playing teams that don't often field three wide receivers, such as Washington last Sunday, Boykin is often relegated to the sideline. He played just 31 percent of the snaps...

Asked this week what his statistics would be if he played 40 percent more of the snaps, Boykin couldn't help but laugh. He understands his role but has not been shy about his desire - and ability - to be a full-time cornerback.

"When you're on the field more, you make more plays, or you should, if you get more opportunities," Boykin said. "I just want to try to make my plays, because I know my reps."

COMING UP

We'll roll out some predictions for the rest of the year.

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  • addicted2mula

    It feels good hearing how good the Defense is playing, instead of getting burnt down the field every game. (NNAMDI AND DRC) Fly Eagles Fly

    • Mr. Wu

      who are Nnamdi and DRC? I can’t recall those names

      • addicted2mula

        I don’t know, I never had a conversation with them, I just kept running pass them.

        • Average__Joseph

          I asked Nnamdi for directions one time and he just pointed at Kurt Coleman.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Was he in his car eating when you asked?

          • addicted2mula

            Yea eating cold CUTS and listing to “I believe I could fly”

          • G_WallyHunter

            I believe I can fly
            I believe I can cover a guy
            San Fran gave me another chance
            I ran around and crapped my pants
            I believe I can soaaaarrrr
            thanks eagles, I’m not poor

          • Joe from Easton

            This made my morning.

          • Mr. Wu

            lmao

          • addicted2mula

            Hahahaha this just made my morning

          • Chris

            awesome hahaha

          • Andy124

            Good job G underscore Wally.

          • G_WallyHunter

            haha least I could do for this great community of Eagles fans (and Nnamdi haters alike)

          • Warhound

            Pretty good poemer!

          • Chris

            need to hang this one up on the wall. gold

          • CTAZPA

            I asked Nnamdi where I could buy an outdoor stove and …

      • A Roy

        I’m pretty sure DRC was short for dreck…Yiddish word for trash or garbage.

      • BirdGang

        Have you not seen DRC play this year? He is actually playing pretty well.

      • GEAGLE

        Go on YouTube and watch the Ludacris “get back” music video and it will remind you who NNamdi is hahahahaha. I haven’t seen so much pointing since that video

  • Septhinox

    “According to ESPN Stats & Information, nine of Foles’ touchdown passes have come among his 46 play-action attempts, an incredible ratio that doubles what we’ve seen this season from Peyton Manning (eight in 98 attempts), Russell Wilson (eight in 92) and Drew Brees (seven in 92).”

    Remember when McNabb used to do playaction with Westbrook. hahahahaha

  • nicksaenz1

    Re: Seifert – It’s taking anything away from Foles by noting how well he executes the play action. If you’re not leveraging the success of other parts of the game that’s just poor game management by the coaching. However, I think it begs the question(s): Have the Eagles QBs not been the beneficiary of McCoy’s greatness at any other points in the season? Why or why not? i.e. Were we not running PA passes or were we unsuccessful when we did?

    • G_WallyHunter

      Great points, what about Mike Vick’s success running the ball because of McCoy? Not taking a dig at Vick, I really do love him, using that as an example. These reporters are funny

      • nicksaenz1

        Great point about Vick benefitting from LeSean. Say we’re down to Chris Polk, are you worried about him so much that you crash the RB on every read option play, or do you just hit Vick?

        • G_WallyHunter

          Crash in on Vick and end his career lol, McCoy helps whatever QB he’s playing with, one way or another, end of story haha

          • nicksaenz1

            Exactly, if I didn’t fear/respect the RB he’s calling the RO with, then I’m trying to lay hits on Vick every single chance I get. I’d even take 15 yards a few times just to make sure they know we’re coming. If the Redskins start running RO with Helu, damn right I’m hitting Griffin.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Exactly, even though Helu has earned quite a bit of respect lately, but to prove the point

    • Joe from Easton

      I agree. I know it’s a bit off of your topic, but talking about leveraging success based on other parts of the game kind of reminded me of a feeling I had last night while watching Brees play. Brees uses every part of the play as “leverage” to get what he wants. I can’t help but to think I see similar traits in Foles; the pump fakes, subtle shoulder and head movement, sliding around the pocket, and staring down defenders. Is it a coincidence that they both went to the same high school and their coach said they both utilized these attributes since they were teenagers? I don’t think so. I’m excited to see how much further he can develop his game.

      • nicksaenz1

        Think his ceiling is very high. Likely not Manning/Brady/Brees high, but if Eli can win a ring, let alone two…… Get this kid a D with a pass rush.

        • Joe from Easton

          Not that I disagree with you, but more out of curiosity; why do you think his ceiling is lower than those guys’? What are his shortcomings?

          • nicksaenz1

            I just don’t want to set myself up for disappointment, so I hedged with “likely not”. I’m not ruling it out, but just trying to be as realistic as possible. That’s an incredibly high level for anyone to reach.

      • southy

        Is it a coincidence? Sort of. I think it’s more important now that Foles watches lots of Brees tape and tries to emulate him.

  • anon

    “In all honesty, in all fairness, how can you take a guy out of the game
    who’s been playing so well?” Vick said during his weekly appearance on
    94 WIP, via CSNPhilly.com. What a distraction he’s become.

    • G_WallyHunter

      Happy Vick’s been displaying the class that he has throughout the year through all this, stand-up guy, regardless of his play

      • southy

        Loved the soundbite after the Foles rushing TD where he goes to the sidelines “Just trying to be like you Mike!”

        • G_WallyHunter

          That joint presser was definitely genuine, we can see that now

          • GEAGLE

            I’m Vicks harshest critic as a QB, but I can never get tired of praising him as a man and a team mate..

            Most of us wish he weren’t our QB, but let’s be honest, he stepped up, united us at a delicate time when things could have spiraled out of control thanks to Cooper..There is a very real chance that we wouldn’t be the team we are this year if Vick hadn’t stepped up and forgive Riley, and I love him for that!
            ….
            he has been nothing but supportive of Nick, And those comments yesterday sealed it for me. The man recently just got out of debt, his wife and kids have a home here, he has done a lot of work in our community even when it wasn’t getting recognition…if this man, wants to keep his family here, and is OK being the best backup in The NFL while helping Nick thru his experience! I’d be willing to welcome him back as our backup for the next 3 years.

            I can’t say enough how much I respect him as a man. He is a very charismatic, likeable guy who isn’t a bad public speaker…have a feeling he will go on to have a pretty good career in TV or Radio….I d much rather listen to him than DOPPY “poor me” donovan

          • G_WallyHunter

            Very well said, agreed on all. Maybe he doesn’t value money as much as people think? Maybe he values maintaining his family and life more? (although this would be hard to imagine given, as you said, he just got out of debt)… but who knows, if he took the best salary for a backup and stayed in Philly, that would be welcome. He’d make enough money to be satisfied and also remain in Philly, where he likes it.

            We all know him as a person and know that he wants to start and prove himself. This will likely lead to him leaving, but who knows, only he does. Gonna be fun to wait and see

          • GEAGLE

            I have a feeling CSNPhilly,WIP or the fanatic would give him a job IF he finishes his career here, especially as a class act backup…

            I don’t think a starting QB spot is out there for him..he will play again, when someone’s starter gets hurt, so why not here? His family can stay, he can transition to TV/radio locally in a few years when he hangs it up, and NO locker room will respect him like ours….If there is no starting QB spot for him, I could see him staying..
            ..
            He needs to look at what happened to Iverson, and then realize that like Garcia! he can extend his career and pay days! while still getting on the he field at some point if he is willing to be a backup ….I think our locker room likes and believes enough in FOles to pull it off…not all starters can handle it, but FOles been preserving while this city treated him like crap since he has been here, I believe Nick can handle his presence

          • G_WallyHunter

            ur second paragraph. on POINT. He’s got it too good here, even as a backup.
            The relationships between Vick and Foles and between Vick and locker room are unique, if they weren’t the way they are I don’t think I could see it happening. The way that they’re favourable supports his case to stay.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah it takes a special chemistry to pull that off..and it looks like we have that

          • Cyrus Robinson

            Vick would definitely be the best backup in the league. We all know what happens when defenses don’t game plan for him.

    • Andy124

      In all honesty, in all fairness, the worries of a distraction are reserved for tough times. Everything’s always kumbaya when things are going well. The concerns are also directed towards the reactions of players other than Vick as a result of the presense of Vick. I fully expect a young QB to struggle at times. The last thing I want is for the Sean’s to be thinking “If Vick was playing…” when that happens.

      It’s not a big deal right now, but I’m reading your post as a “in your face” to those who don’t think keeping Vick around next year as a backup is in the best interest of the team (i.e. me). (To be clear, considering all the joking that’s going on about the quarterback position, I certainly to blame you.) And the reasoning for that line of thinking really has nothing to with what Mike may or may not say. I’d be surprised at this point if Mike were to say something inflamatory in that kind of situation.

      • Richard Colton

        He’s too smart to say something inflammatory. Vick’s been around the game a long time. Your post made me think of the Jeff Garcia/Wilma McNabb imbroglio. I’m surprised we haven’t heard something similar from the Vick camp. Did they finally muzzle Marcus?

        • Andy124

          Remind me what happened with Jeff and Wilma. That was before I had sources of information other than espn, and if espn ran it, I’ve forgotten about it.

          • Richard Colton

            It was great. High drama. Donovan goes out with an injury, we all think our playoff chances are finished. Garcia steps up and plays at a pro-bowl level. Wilma goes on her blog and writes that she’s happy for the Eagles, but thinks fans will use Garcia’s good play as an excuse to rip Donovan.

            Plenty of athletes I’m glad aren’t playing here any more, but only two families I was glad to lose: the McNabbs, and the Lindros

        • nicksaenz1

          Amazing how much better things go for Vicks when Marcus has his twitter account taken away.

  • Wildo

    I can’t wait to see how good this defense will be when they’re able to add a couple more pieces. The secondary could use some talent, OLB as well.. Give credit to the players and coaches though, they’re playing far better than anyone expected and they’re a huge reason for the success we’re having.

    • GEAGLE

      It’s not just the addition that will take us to the next level…our exsisting players are only operating at about 70% of their potential..
      ..
      These kids bodies aren’t done growing, the scheme isn’t second nature to them yet, they still have some gelling to do with each other…Even if we didn’t add a single defender, our defense would be improved next year..we just haven’t been together long enough for it not to improve….add a playmaking safety and a Von miller type at OLB, and we will start to become scary!!!

      • Andy124

        I wonder how Kruger is doing or what he may contribute next year. Still don’t know if they see him as a DE or OLB.

      • Wildo

        I really hope they draft OL in the first round (Peters, Mathis, Herremans all 31+).. but I’m excited at the possibility of a few more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. I think a top notch edge rusher and a solid corner would go a long way in shoring up the back end of the defense. A safety would be nice but I think we’re doing alright with what we have. Allen has been showing constant improvement, finally, and Wolfe/Chung/Coleman are suitable starters (although not strengths).

        • Pennguino

          Yea, that Oline age is kind of alarming. They could all get old real quick, like next year. Is Peters’ play slipping b/c of the Achilles, age, new system? Mathis is the oldest but most consistent. Herremans has slipped in production but is that because he is playing next to the rook? The line men have to be in sync. If not then that half second causes them to lose leverage and the block. Allen Barbre is only a couple of years younger and could be a bridge at the Tackle/Guard spot for a year or two. Kelly is in the wings and developing and Bamiro needs to get stronger and develop. Tobin in the same boat.

          • http://www.mileageupdate.com/ MileageUpdate

            Isnt Mathis regarded as the best OG in football. Hard to think he’ll drop off that fast

        • Warhound

          Should be able to get O-line help in round two. I want a playmaking OLBer or some other impact defender in the first.

  • Andy

    Speaking of drafts, what ever became of Jordan Poyner? I was pretty surprised when they cut him. Did someone else pick him up?

    • Andy124

      The Browns picked him up out of spite. We were going to try to convert him to safety.

      • GEAGLE

        Hope we drive up the price on their free agent safety, and then sign Byrd lol

    • G_WallyHunter

      Browns, Ha!

      • Andy

        Those dirty bastards!

        • G_WallyHunter

          Banner! You dirty bastard!
          Take Dion Lewis while you’re at it too, only to have him break his leg lol

          • GEAGLE

            banner is def pretty high on my list of jerks I want to fight inside the UFC Octogon with a Million people watching. The I list goes:
            Dustin Diamond (screech powers)
            P. Diddy
            Kanye West
            Dirty banner
            fat Mcnabb
            A-Rod

          • G_WallyHunter

            lmao screech

          • GEAGLE

            UGH!! I despise that BLEEP!!! Lol change the subject, ii won’t be able to control myself and don’t feel like getting banned again…screech ain’t worth it lol

          • cliff henny

            yeah, but without screech, there’d be no kelly kapowski!

          • Andy124

            You’re just jealous he finally got to dance with Lisa.

          • G_WallyHunter

            He’s jealous screech and Kelly were doing homework together

          • Warhound

            K West sooooo deserves a beat down.

  • JettMartinez

    This is important to remember. As much credit as Kelly can be given for pointing things in the right direction, and I’m squarely on #TeamChip, two solid drafts classes are huge. If Foles solidifies the QB spot for the next few years, that draft goes from good to great. More and more teams are finally figuring out how to manage the salary cap, and fewer and fewer stars will be available. We better be careful, if they can pull off 1 or 2 more good drafts, we may have to …*gulp*… show Howie some respect.

    • Richard Colton

      cautiously optimistic. I like it.

    • Brandon Boykin, OLB

      Where’s that guy HowieDon’tKnow?

      • Andy124

        He changed his name to JofreyRice.
        I’m kidding.

        • GEAGLE

          HA I LOLed

      • G_WallyHunter

        This is hilarious, I was thinking about where he went this morning as I read the wakeup call.

      • nicksaenz1

        Where’s HowieburgerHelper? That guy came with some ingenious posts.

  • GEAGLE

    1 or two more drafts, a few more Bradley Fletcher and Connar Barwin type signings! and we will look like the Niners of last year or the seahawks

  • GEAGLE

    Nothing makes me happier than seeing Fletcher Cox age…I know how old he is! but every single time I’m reminded of it, I get all warm, fuzzy and tingly inside

  • cliff henny

    all this talk of whether foles is product of system or defining how much he’s helped by weapons could be looked at in whole different direction. what if it is weapons and kelly’s system primarily, and foles just being a good player taking advantage? imagine the competitive advantage kelly being able to re-create winning qbs would give Eagles money wise. even if Foles goes on to sign 2nd contract, with the assumption they been developing a barkley hundley or thomas for 2 yrs, maybe he doesnt get a flacco, ryan, romo, or stafford 20+m a yr, but something nearer to Vick. that extra 12-15m can be used to keep more talent. when talk was of hiring kelly, that was my first thought. yeah, a brady or rodgers is great to have(but ridiculously hard to find), but what if an offense is created where that level of talent isnt required to win. that’s Belicheck’s genius on defense in NE (and brady being brady certainly helps offense). they’ve let ton of talent walk, keeps turning out W’s. not saying can put inferior player out there, but a de-valuing of the position would give eagles a huge competitive advantage.

    • Warhound

      I’ve wondered about that type of scenario for years. Can you structure an offense that works well with a 2nd tier QB? With the saved money you could build a monster offensive line (allowing you to run the ball and set-up easy play action) or add playmaking LBers. Or….?

      • cliff henny

        it’s not only creating with 2nd tier, but ease of re-creating. the only issue with the nfl is it’s dependence on qb position. while 25 teams are either hyjacking payroll or waiting 5 yrs yrs to see if qb developes or rolling qbs like cleve tb etc, kelly seems to have an offense that allows for lessening of learning curve and increased production. maybe 1 guy can be explained,but vick looked like ’10 vick, heck i though he was scratching surface, mccoy jax johnson (raw rookie rt tackle is grading out about as well as anyone can hope) and cooper. something is in this offense and kelly. oregon was same deal.

        • Warhound

          Yeah – you draft ‘em, use ‘em and never pay a 2nd contact to ‘em.

          • cliff henny

            maybe, but eagles could earlier extend foles, which is best case for everyone, he’ll get more money, he’s playing for nfl peanuts right now, but eagles wont have to commit 5yrs 100m. just think how much better overall a team is if you can pay qb 1/20 to 1/25 of sal cap instead of 1/5 to 1/6th, but have a system where play is equal…just crazy advantage. and, if he gets hurt or wants to play out rookie deal, team has leverage in contract negotiations with valid theory (see vicks play) in ‘we’ll just make another’.