Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Mike Tanier of Sports On Earth released his All-Hinge Team, which includes Jeremy Maclin:
The Chiefs have one No. 2 receiver and a bunch of No. 3s in search of a numero uno guy. The Eagles have a fleet of No. 2s, led by Maclin, who returns from his ACL tear to a world where his signature 64-catch, 800-yard season stat line may no longer be enough. If Maclin cannot lift the lid on opposing defenses, the release of DeSean Jackson will be Exhibit A in the angry Philly Boo Birds’ case against Chip Kelly.
Peter King of The MMQB offers his thoughts on owner Jeffrey Lurie:
A frustrated Eagles fan said to me at training camp a couple of years ago he was exasperated with the Andy Reid regime and the team’s inability to ever win the big one. I said to him that almost every July, you look at the Eagles and feel they can contend to play football in January, and there aren’t many franchises you can say that about. I understand that franchises, and ownerships, are ultimately measured by the number of titles they win. So the Eagles, obviously, need to win one to show that Lurie is making all the right calls and putting the right people in position with his franchise. But I like the consistency of the ship he runs.
Football Outsiders has the Eagles’ early win projection for 2014 at 10. Aaron Schatz explains:
Some teams do have a tendency to have more injuries than average year after year — the Packers and Patriots keep making it to the postseason despite this problem — but for the most part, we should go into every season expecting each team to have an average number of injuries. That change alone would do wonders for the Giants.
It’s also the biggest reason to believe they could top Philadelphia for the division title, as the Eagles were among the lowest teams in adjusted games lost last year. On the other hand, we know offense tends to be more consistent than defense, which in turn is more consistent than special teams. That means teams that significantly improve based on offense, such as the Eagles, are more likely to maintain their improvement the next season than teams that significantly improve based on defense, such as Carolina.
Chris Burke of SI.com has Jordan Matthews among the favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Perhaps the best offense-to-player fit of all the non-QB rookies. Matthews waltzes into a phenomenal opportunity in Philadelphia, where DeSean Jackson has departed and Jeremy Maclin is coming back from injury. He can work all areas of the field, giving him a chance to blow up in Chip Kelly’s creative passing attack.
Field Yates of ESPN.com pegs Eagles tight end Zach Ertz as one of 10 second-year players who could make the leap:
Ertz managed four touchdowns in his last six games as a rookie, a precursor to what looks like a breakout season as a sophomore. The Eagles offense will need to account for the loss of DeSean Jackson, which will be aided by re-signing Jeremy Maclin, trading for Darren Sproles and increased production from a player such as Ertz. A critical cog in his ascension: beefed-up blocking ability, as Ertz has said himself.
Louis Riddick of ESPN.com lists Taylor Hart as one of his developmental rookies to watch:
Program and scheme familiarity are two of the most important variables when it comes to projecting future player performance, and Hart has both working in his favor in Philadelphia. Having played for Eagles head coach Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon in a 3-4 scheme very similar to the one that is currently being run in Philadelphia, he will immediately be able to hit the ground running both in terms of what is to be expected from a training and preparation standpoint, as well as from a schematic and technical one. Look for Hart to continue to make strides in terms of his muscular/physical development, as he already has shown the competitive character and fundamental understanding of how to play the DE position in the 3-4 at a high-enough level to suggest a bright future in Philadelphia.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com is rather generous in his re-grading of the Eagles’ 2011 draft, giving them a C-:
Some thought LB Casey Matthews could develop into a consistent NFL starter, but that has yet to happen in Philadelphia. A member of one of the most prestigious football families, Matthews hasn’t had a NFL career like his brother, Clay, but he has the attitude to stick around as a quality backup.