What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Here’s a roundup of this week’s national media coverage on the Eagles.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com looks at which teams are best positioned for 2014. He’s got the Eagles at No. 8:

The Eagles won the NFC East and set a franchise record for scoring in Chip Kelly’s first season as coach. The backup quarterback Kelly inherited tossed 27 touchdown passes with two interceptions along the way. So, when I asked an NFL personnel analyst whether any of the current coaching candidates from the college ranks measured up to Kelly, the answer was no. “Chip Kelly can adjust anything and is really, really, really smart,” the analyst said. “Once every five years in college you see one like him.”

Brandon Boykin made Doug Farrar’s All-Pro team on SI.com:

Since we added a slot receiver to our All-Pro team, let’s get a great nickel corner to cover him. Few are better than Boykin, who sent the Eagles to the playoffs with his late-game pick of Kyle Orton last Sunday and amassed six total picks alternating between the slot and outside.

Kevin Patra of NFL.com says his favorite thing about 2013 was Chip Kelly shutting everybody up:

You must marvel at Chip Kelly’s ability to silence the critics who said he wouldn’t translate into the NFL. In 2013 the coach proved his offense is more than a “gimmick” zone-read scheme that took advantage of Pac-12 defenses in college. He proved a guru whose most important offensive philosophy lies in forcing defenses to cover the entire field. Kelly’s deployment of LeSean McCoy was spectacular. The running back constantly got in open space and gave us jaw-dropping runs (who will ever forget him treating defenders like practice cones in the Blizzard Bowl?).

The Eagles are 11th in ESPN.com’s power rankings:

How good is the Eagles offense? Philly scored an NFL-high 266 points and committed an NFL-low five turnovers after Nick Foles reclaimed the starting job in Week 9.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 11th:

How many Philly fans were sweating bullets Sunday night when it looked like Kyle Orton was going to lead the Cowboys down the field at the end? Nice work by the Eagles’ defense, which will never get the credit in Philadelphia that Chip Kelly’s offense does. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ group finished 17th in points allowed … which is firmly in the middle of the pack. However, given the fact that Kelly is obsessed with scoring points and not burning clock, that defense figures to be good enough to potentially help Philly go deep in the playoffs.

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com has the Eagles seventh:

The Eagles have the second best turnover differential behind the Seahawks and are the most explosive offense in the entire NFL. Based on that, they should actually be higher on this list.

John McTigue of ESPN.com Stats & Information says the Eagles could be dangerous:

Aside from the 49ers, there are several factors that point to the Eagles being the most dangerous team playing on wild card weekend. The Eagles went 7-1 over the last eight games of the season, committed a league-low five turnovers, and produced a 101.7 EPA on offense in that span. The Eagles’ defense isn’t as strong as the 49ers’, Seahawks’ or Panthers’, but Nick Foles’ efficiency, coupled with the NFL’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, make Philadelphia a top contender, regardless of seed.

Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN.com likes the Saints to beat the Eagles:

TMQ’s sixth sense tells him the Blur Offense fades in this contest and that New Orleans will advance to a monster NFC playoff confrontation at Seattle. But my sixth sense also told me Sarah Palin would help the 2008 Republican ticket.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Saints in a 34-31 victory:

The Saints are the only team in the NFC playoffs ranked in the top­ 10 in the league in both total offense and defense. Yet here they are on the road as an underdog. I think that’s a mistake. Yes, the Eagles have done some really good things on offense with Nick Foles, but they finished last in the league in pass defense. Drew Brees and his receivers have to be salivating at the idea of facing that secondary. The Saints have never won a playoff game as a true road team in five tries. That’s concerning. So is the fact that they are playing outside. They’ve struggled at times in the weather with this offense. But I think the fact that the Eagles’ defense is so bad against the pass will offset that. I will take Brees over Foles in a shootout. Remember, this is the first postseason game for Foles. That matters.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles seventh:

Chip Kelly will have to get used to playing in a postseason game without naming rights.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.


Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Media Mike

    Prisco constantly evaltuates the Eagles at a level lower than the rest of the national folks due. Is he simply trolling Eagles fans, trying to get jumped, or just an idiot?
    Plus, ESPN can start 2014 by dropping dead. There is NO WAY the 10-6 Cardinals should be ranked ahead of the 10-6 Eagles considering our head to head win over that team.

    • Andy

      He is right about the Eagles pass defense vs the Saints. But he is also neglecting to mention the Saints are 12th out of 16 in the NFC in rushing defense (a notch below the Redskins!) and that the Eagles have the #1 rushing attack in the NFL by a pretty wide margin. Number two in the NFC is San Fran with about 23 fewer yards per game on the ground. Let’s hope for a cold and windy night at the Linc that forces these teams to run the ball. Eagles run defense is ranked 7 and NO’s rush attack is 14th in the NFC.

      • Will

        Spot on…

      • GEAGLE

        saints offense is a shell of itself on the road, even if it’s not outdoor…they couldn’t score 20 in the Rams dome…,the crowd noise screws with their huddle and audibles…combine some January weather with how our defense is playing, and I’m expecting more of the saints offense that struggles to score 20, then the saints home offense that scores 35

        If you look at what the Saints have done on the road…not that scary at all, and they are consistently bad!! Also, saints were a better team the first half of the season…injuries kicked in late and I don’t see how any can say they played their best football down the stretch….yet. We are HOT right now, and so young and new that we still improving as the weeks to by…

        Heavy dose of all 3 RBs…play action to Ertz, Celek and shady when they are matched up with Roman Harper and Curtis Lofton..
        ….
        We have the better Run game, and the better run defense..we also have the better turnover margin…if those things hold true Saturday, we win the game…

    • Chickie

      I saw Prisco on one of those “Top Ten” shows on NFL network regarding the Giants saying, “You just have to hate the Eagles, right ?”, or something to that effect. He grew up in North Jersey and is anti-Philly. That’s where it comes from.

      • Media Mike

        Good. He, along with everybody else who is a Giants fan, can have a good time falling down the steps and breaking their necks in 2014. I loathe that fan base. Cowboys people make me laugh, faux big time New Yorkers are a stain upon the human gene pool.

    • Kev_H

      You can tell which guys don’t put the stats in context. The Eagles’ defense was competitive (at least) against the marquee wideouts of Detroit, Chicago, and Dallas. I expect at least two picks on Saturday.

      • BlindChow

        Against Matt Stafford, Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton. Drew Brees is more of a Matt Cassel.

        • Media Mike

          Except we’re playing road Brees and not Superdome Brees. That is a big difference.

        • mtn_green

          Or Phillip rivers

    • Johnny Domino

      To answer your questions, yes and yes.

      • Media Mike

        Thank you good sir!

  • Media Mike

    So how much extra money did that streetball nutcase scramble bum Johnny Football earn himself the right to steal from the Browns last night? I cannot wait to see how that dude continues the legacy of horrific drafting and team management for the Browns.

  • Will

    I hate these National pundits…keep under estimating this Eagles team…The Eagles just find a way to win at home in the Linc Saturday Night. Chip’s game plan, Philly’s D-Line, Philly’s O-Line, McCoy’s running ability and play action passing from Foles proves to be to much. Billy D’s Defense plays up to the occasion with 2 picks or 2 turnovers…Go Eagles!

  • Beastmode

    Daniel Jeremiah is trolling hard if he thinks we’re taking Manziel.

    • Media Mike

      He’s not lasting past #2 when the idiot Browns move up to get him.

    • cliff henny

      mid season when vick got hurt, foles had 1st dallas game, i was hoping manziel fell to mid teens for eagles. watching him last night, what a freaking show, but he’s going to get killed. maybe he was little extra excited being final college game cause he was in serious streetball mode. really glad he wont be an eagle, hope he doesnt end up in cleveland (banner) or dallas (just because) so i can enjoy his play. if he ever reverse pivot spins and a guy like trent is waiting for him, body parts might fly off

  • Media Mike

    Sorry to see Bill O’Brien leave Penn State, but he’s going to make Houston into a great team again as he takes a true NFL passing talent in Teddy Bridgewater and brings him along into a real pro system!

    • GEAGLE

      I could see them trying to sign Cutler so they can pair Clowny with Watt…and then take a taj Boyd type in round 2-3

      • Media Mike

        Taj Boyd? No thanks. You don’t bring in a QB guru like O’Brien, have the number 1 pick, and not draft a QB. O’Brien is there to make Bridgewater into a superstar.

        • GEAGLE

          Think they are going to follow the KC/cardinals model. Immediately bring in a veteran QB to lead the first year, then in year two look for a young QB…take KC for example, they took Alex smith last year, but watch them draft a QB this year in the top two rounds…same with the cardinals…
          ..

          • Media Mike

            KC was sort of forced into that due to how bad the 2013 draft class was for QBs. Manuel? Smith? Putrid. Teddy Bridgewater is a legit NFL passer and reader of Ds. He’s not Andrew Luck, but he’s a better prospect than any stiff from this year’s group of rookies. Again, O’Brien is a QB guru; you get a QB right away and go to work.

          • GEAGLE

            Not as crazy about Teddy as Most, but I do think he deserves to be a top pick…I just view him more as a Sam Bradford type of top pick, then an Andrew luck…..
            ..
            Curious to see which QB Andy drafts…

      • Mr. Wu

        But what abot Schaub?

        Sarcasm^^

  • Scott J

    I agree with Kevin Patra.

  • GEAGLE

    Wouldn’t mind drafting WRs…curious to hear who people think are the biggest GEMS:

    Maclin/Damaris type replacements:
    Sammy Watkins 6’1 205lbs round 1
    Marquis Lee 6’0 195lbs round 1
    Odell Beckham 5’11 193lbs rounds 1-2
    Jarvis Landry 6’0 195lbs round 2
    Paul Richardson 6’1 172lbs rounds 2-3
    Josh Huff 5’11 202lbs round 5

    Rejus Benn/Jeff Maehl replacements:
    Mike Evans 6’5 225lbs round 1
    Allen Robinson 6’3 210lbs round 1-2
    Kelvin Benjamin(serious man crush) 6’5 235lbs rounds 1-2
    Jordan Mathews 6’3 205lbs rounds 1-2
    Brandon Coleman 6’5 230lbs round 3
    Donte Moncrief 6’2 225lbs round 3
    ….
    A lot of serious WR talent in this draft..would love to see what type of WR Chip would draft. We have a pocket passer so drafting WRs doesn’t go to waste…I’m a defensive guy, but if they get us our impact safety in free agency, I would be Ok with drafting a WR or two in the first 4 rounds, as long as we still get our pass rusher…
    ..
    Sorround FOles with a crazy arsenal of weapons, and he will spread it around and really make defenses pay..a WR group like:
    Desean
    Riley Cooper
    kelvin Benjamin
    Jarvis Lamdry
    Maclin
    Avant
    Ertz
    That’s a scary passing attack when defenses are worried about Shady

    • evanphilly

      I would love a big WR on this team, I’ve been saying that for the last few years. You add a 6’4″+, 220+ with DJax and this Offense is beastmode. Cooper has done enough to bring back another year and I would keep Avant solely for the reason he is the heart and soul of this team.

      • GEAGLE

        If we are drafting a WR in the first 3 rounds, you keep Avant to teach the kid how to be a pro

        • nicksaenz1

          Exactly why I want Benjamin. Dude would benefit the most from Avant, I think.

    • nicksaenz1

      I also love Kelvin Benjamin. Dude just makes tough catches. Some time with Avant to sure up the easy stuff and that dude’s lethal. Mike Evans isn’t falling to us, so if we can land our OLB in round one, I’d love Benjamin in round two and Lee/Landry in the third if they fall. Defense the rest of the way out with a OL sprinkled in somewhere.

      • GEAGLE

        kelvin had a lot to do with Winston looking so awesome. bailed him out a lot with some monster catches…
        ….
        I think I have been evaluating our OLB targets all wrong..while we would love to have Barr and Mack, I think I made a mistake thinking we might target Van Noy or Beasly….Van Noy is a possibility because he can be a drop OLB for us for a few years and then slide over to ILB when Meco moves on,,,with good coaching, Van Noy can be a Mike Vrabel type..Beasly I’m crossing off our wish list,…
        ..
        I’m starting to think that the OLB we target will be more DE then OLB..Chip Likes them 6’6 BIG with wingspan, so I think more likely targets for us would be:
        Trent Murphy 6’6 260lbs round 1…Stanford so Chip will be very familiar with his game and ability.

        Kony Ealy 6’5 275lbs round 1-2

        Trevor Riely 6’5 255lbs round 2

        Jackson Jeffcoat 6’4 250 2-3
        ….
        Trent Cole and Graham can play next while a prospect like Beasly adds weight…but that doesn’t solve the fact that he is only 6’2 and Chip wants height and length at OLB

        • RIP illa

          You left off Michael Sam. Looking forward to seeing his offseason performances…senior bowl, combine, maybe east/west shrine.

          • GEAGLE

            I think out of Sam and Ealy, one will get drafted in round 1, the other, round two….

            I friggin adore senior bowls, shrine game, combine…but it’s so awesome to still be playing football in January. Our season last year ended on halloween, so by this time of high year I had a great grip on the draft class. I have kept up this year, but I still have ton of work to do. Which is awesome because I will actually have something to look at when our season ends,,
            ,,,
            This has been on of the most fun eagles seasons of the past 10 years. I just don’t want this season to end. it provided so many magical moments good and bad

          • RIP illa

            I’m exactly the same way and haven’t been able to lock in on the draft cause of our success also. Hit Brees a lot, will equate to a deep playoff run. That’s pretty much the answer for our D. Kill them w/ Shady and our TEs on O.

          • GEAGLE

            Yes sir…hit him hard, often, bat some balls down, get some pressure up the middle in his face..we need Cox or Curry to hit him real good 1 time.
            ..
            Figuring we draft ATleast one kid from the PAC 12 and one from SEC(LSU)…

          • hokieduck

            GEAGLE. Don’t know if you remember me from early on after Chip came on board but it both cracks me up and makes my little heart sing to read these threads now. How soon everyone went from being p^ssed at the Chip Kelly hire to being converts. Dude is simply a genius and his teams are the most fun to watch of any I have ever followed in years of watching football.

            Good luck in the playoffs, Eagles. I have been an NFL fan again this year due to Chip. Glad to see you guys playing in January.

            Go Eagles. WTD.

          • GEAGLE

            Starting to hear Ealy/Aldon smith comparisons

          • RIP illa

            I’ve heard it too. I’m not buying it, as of yet. They F’n compare ever 6’4+ guy, w/ athleticism, to Smith. There’s a S-ton of pass rushers to compare guys to and they seem to always pick Smith.

        • RIP illa

          And if Murphy had the athleticism and speed to go along w/ his powerful frame, I would love if we drafted him. But sadly I don’t think he does. So Ealy is tops of your listed group. Leery of Texas DEs!

          • GEAGLE

            We will find out at the combine

          • Richard Colton

            We would have way too much fun with a first round pick named Kony around here

        • UKEagle99

          Save this stuff for February, once we’ve won the Superbowl ;-)

    • Richard Colton

      Not to mention, we’ve only started scratching the surface with Ertz. He’ll be even better with a full training camp and offseason.

      I like Odell Beckham, love him in round two. You know I’ve liked Evans for a while. If you’re talking about replacing Demaris Johnson, what about Crowder from Duke if he comes out? He put on a show last night.

      • GEAGLE

        What a game that kid had last night….but I have no clue what round he would go in…I honestly think the sky is the limits for Ertz and he can become as good as he wants to be….Add a big WR like Benjamin, on a Team with Big weapons like Ertz and Cooper, and defenses will lose their mind when we start sending desean in motion forcing them to scramble to give him attention..

        I’m convinced safety is coming via free agency, so I wouldnt mind:
        1) Trent Murphy
        2) Big WR
        3) smaller WR
        4)OG
        5) S
        5) CB

        • Richard Colton

          The pre-draft QB yeasting has already begun. Even without Mariotta. Could see 4 QBs in the first 10 picks – which means Barr or Mack get pushed out of the top ten. Wonder what it would cost us to get to 11?

          • GEAGLE

            Yup…not just QBs, but you will see a OT feeding frenzy at the top of the draft….

          • Richard Colton

            Hypothetical – Would you trade the 26th pick plus next year’s #1 for Mack?

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah, actually I probably would. I believe in this team, our coaches and our future..if I believe in them, then I expect to be picking 25-30 next year…giving up two late round 1s is absolutely worth an impact pass rusher. They make every player on your pass defense better. The kid is legit..terell Suggs, Demarcus ware type..I’d do it…especially if we keep getting quality in rounds 2-5 like these past two years
            ..
            I’m also not opposed to trading away our first round pick and moving back into the beginning of round 2

          • Bdawkbdawk

            No way. Mack has looked good and apparently flashed against Ohio State, but I hate to trade a future first for anyone unless they are some type of transcendent star. There are just too many variables in play. Say Foles/Shady goes down next year or something, and we climb the draft – Then we get horrible value.
            ….
            I bet come this time next year, there will be some other breakout player who performs very similarly to Mack, and he might even be around late. LB prospects bust, even the ones that seem incredible. For every Demarcus Ware there is an Aaron Curry.

            I can sympathize with the “go get your guy” mentality and I trust our scouts, but trading the future for what we can see now, just doesn’t seem to play out all that well.

    • cliff henny

      gawd that would be sexy! good luck playing single high m2m press. that’s really what this draft is about to me. once kelly gets 2 wrs that can abuse that, broncos scoring record wont last very long. and olb to play kill the qb.

      • GEAGLE

        Oh yeah, we are definitely gonna be hunting Denver’s record in the near future. The more issue we take care of in FA, the better position we will be to stockpile weapons of mass destruction in the draft..

        1) a starting safety will be signed…
        .
        2) From Mathis to Barbre Howie has been plucking Free Agent gems for the Oline..if Howie can sign a Guard version of Barbre that’s another pick we can spend on a WR.
        ..
        We are going to have to draft our Pass rusher, but if we have a strong FA, we could have the FLEXABILITY to add two top WRs..

    • UKEagle99

      I’m curious as why so many people want to replace Maclin without him playing a single down under Chip. If other players can reinvent themselves, Jackson & Coop then why not Maclin? He wasnt bad to begin with and did his bit in the red zone. I’d like to see Maclin back on a 1 year prove it deal.

      • GEAGLE

        Bring Maclin back, don’t bring Maclin back, whatever…all I know is we need to get younger at WR

  • Engwrite

    You forgot to mention that in addition to Boykin, SI’s Doug Farrar, as logic dictates, picked LeSean McCoy for his all pro team but in addition, after selecting Peyton Manning as his QB he selected Phillip Rivers and Nick Foles as his alternates.

    Even more interesting, he has as his best 3-4 outside linebackers Robert Mathis and Trent Cole of whom he says that “when it comes to versatility, it’s tough to top Cole. He added 31 run stops to his 51 total pressures.”

  • Explorer51

    Yeah, the NO D is pretty good statistically this year but their frikkin’ DC is this guy!

    • Will

      Ryan’s a good thing he’s the DC in NO…the weakness of NO D is run Defense which bodes well for Philly’s number 1 rushing Offence in the NFL…Philly’s O-Line has to win the battle in the Trenches…I like our chances in this one…This Eagles team is hungry and fed up with losing…we are what 7-1 in the last 8 games winning is contagious…the Eagle’s team continues to execute, execute, execute…The Saints throw the ball about 65% of the time that’s a lot of opportunities to pick Brees off hoping for strong winds Saturday Night along with low teens temperature…the 12th man should be loud and proud whenever Brees is on the field screwing with Brees’s audibles… Eagles need to jump out in front then run the hell out of the ball in hurry up to wear that NO D down in the cold….Brees does get the ball out in 3 seconds even on the long shots down field…Brees loves to hit his targets on pure go routes down the seam…The Eagles D-Linemen need to have there hands up to batt down Brees passes as well…Nate Allen ball hawks this game and gets 2 picks Nate is long over due ….

      • GEAGLE

        Will, you have to be able to run the ball outdoors in January.
        We boast a significantly better run game
        We boast a much better run defense (and we will force Ingram to fumble)
        ..
        We boast one of the highest turnover margins in the NFL. Last season we were minus 24 in turnovers, Dead last. This year we are plus 12. Don’t think you can find many teams that made a plus 36 improvement in the turnover margin from one year to the next..
        ….
        The Home teams that are +1 in turnover margin win 82% of the time! That Number increases for home teams that are plus two..

        Shady, the WRs/TE, and return men can’t lay the ball on The turf, and FOles needs to keep doing what he has done all year…good luck finding another QB who doesn’t have a single two turnovers game this year….and we will get a HUGE win on Saturday night!!

        • Will

          This gonna be a barn burner from start to finish who ever executes with the least mistakes wins….This will be an exciting game…Like I’ve said I like our chances at home…I like the points you mentioned..nice…I see this game going down to the last minutes…Chip would be wise to kick FG’s this week given the chance we need to come away with points every possession, this game will require near perfection in execution in all 3 phases Offence, Defense and ST…

          • GEAGLE

            I will be dissapointed if the saints score more then 24 points…I prefer 17-22, but I can live with an extra 2 points….don’t let another team score More then 24 points and we win the SB lol..,problem is, it’s easier said then done,,,,

            if we commit to the run game from start to finish, and don’t turn the ball over, we won’t lose this game..big IF tho…
            ..
            I don’t believe that teams who play us for the first time will be equipped to stop us…I see visions of fat lazy Bunkley getting a heart attack trying to keep up with our high tempo…

          • Will

            A run mentality behind Peters & Mathis to play action pass picking on Harper should nail it down…hope to see a lot of Shady and Bryce as well..31-28 Eagles…That rookie tackle of NO is key we must exploit that match up…Sporles has been banged up but if healthy will present headaches along with Graham/Colston/Stills/Moore…this is no cake walk of a game….

  • PaoliBulldog

    The Eagles’ defense will get as much credit as the offense when Davis gets his unit playing at an elite level. He did a great job with what personnel he had.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    I know we have a rookie head coach going into the playoffs but I feel pretty good about the match-up. Even as an assistant, Payton had Reid’s number, and that continued when he went to the Saints. He knew that Andy wouldn’t change on the fly and caught him with his pants down numerous times. We don’t know how Chip will do in his first playoff game, but I am fairly certain he won’t beat his binder against a brick wall for four quarters.

  • Chip Henderson

    The problem I have with Prisco’s opinion is that he neglects to mention that the reason the Eagles defense gives up a lot of passing yards is because other teams are always passing against them. The Eagles tend to get leads really quickly and the opposition is usually playing catch up, thus throwing the ball. If you’re going to mention stats, at least keep them in perspective.

    • hokieduck

      Excellent point. It took four years under Chip at Oregon for the media to stop harping on TOP stats.

  • Max Lightfoot

    I don’t put any stock in the Saints’ road record, Brees’ playing in cold weather, the Eagles’ ability to play in the cold, or any other sportswriter musings. It’s the playoffs. As Bill Murray says in Ghostbusters, “It’s Millah time.” I believe whichever team brings it Saturday night will win it – hope it’s the Eagles. Why the heck not?

    I actually won’t be able to watch the game, but I have a good excuse: I will be watching the Flyers play the Phoenix Coyotes live in Glendale, AZ.

    It’s 7.5 hours of power driving from my house in northwest New Mexico, but I haven’t seen the Flyers in 20 years. It’s the milage equivalent of someone living in Philadelphia driving to Cleveland, Ohio, for an away game, but that’s life out West.

    • theycallmerob

      hope you get to see a helluva game. Orange and black! enjoy amigo, and safe travels

      • Max Lightfoot

        Thanks! Normally I’d leave the day before and stay in Flagstaff for the night but my family is away back East and I have limited options for more than a day of pet-watching.from the neighbors. I will wear my Flyers hoody!

  • UKEagle99

    Ahh Prisco & Easterbrook, I wonder whether they spoon to the left, or spoon to the right…

  • Septhinox

    “Chip Kelly will have to get used to playing in a postseason game without naming rights. – Florio”

    Love it!!

  • DEBO 215

    Easterbrook is such a fuggin’ tool satchel.