Wake-Up Call: Three Players We’re Watching

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
For the Eagles, this is Day Three of their Organized Team Activities at the NovaCare Complex. For reporters, it’s our first opportunity to see the 2014 Eagles on the field.

Here are three of the players we’ll be watching as we take in practice Thursday:

Marcus Smith


Obvious one, right? Eyes are naturally drawn to the first-round pick. Smith will probably get some extra attention given all the debate about whether he was a "reach" and the team's need for immediate help in the pass-rush department. Smith was second in the nation in sacks (14.5) last season for Lousiville. Billy Davis certainly wouldn't mind getting a decent slice of that production, but it's to be seen just how much polish the rookie needs before he can contribute in a meaningful way at this level.

"I obviously have been around Marcus the most," Connor Barwin told Comcast Sportsnet recently. "It's been really good so far, he seems like a humble kid. ... Me and Trent [Cole] have given him some advice, he seems to be picking up the defense...

 "I will try to teach [Smith] tricks of the trade that I've learned in my six years. It'll make him a better player, but in my last five years it'll make me a better player. He's gonna inspire me or challenge me to be better."

Darren Sproles

The Eagles sacrificed a fifth-round pick to land Sproles, who turns 31 in June.  "There are some down there in New Orleans who thought Darren's best days were long behind him and the wall was approaching faster than outsiders think," said ESPN analyst Louis Riddick: "They made a calculated bet, and we'll see which team is right there. You just know the Saints know more about him than anybody else knows about him."

The Eagles obviously feel he has a good amount left in the tank. Howie Roseman noted that Sproles hasn't taken the same kind of pounding as other backs because he is more of a space player than a between-the-tackles runner, and could potentially benefit from the Eagles' sports science program as well.

It will be interesting to see what kind of zip the former Saint has. And perhaps we'll get some early hints on how Kelly plans to use him in this offense.

Jaylen Watkins

Roseman likened Watkins to Brandon Boykin in that  injuries limited both during the pre-draft process, which in turn affected their stock. They're hoping Watkins proves to be another steal. The Florida product still ran a 4.41 on a bad ankle at the combine but believes he would have clocked in at 4.3 if 100 percent. That's some pretty serious speed. How does it translate to the field? The plan is to start the Florida product off at corner, though he could transition to safety down the road. Chip Kelly suggested he could work with both groups this spring and summer.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Vinny Curry, "Secret Superstar"? Pro Football Focus thinks so.

A look at some cap/financial matters with the help of expert Joel Corry.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Geoff Mosher projects the Eagles' depth chart, and has Earl Wolff ahead of Nate Allen. 

If there’s a job competition on the starting defense, it’s between safeties Earl Wolff and Nate Allen. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Last year, the coaches pretended to jockey Allen and the rookie Wolff all spring and summer but they never intended to start Wolff by the season opener. Now that Wolff has some playing time under his belt, he’s the lead man to start opposite Malcolm Jenkins, but Wolff needs to stay healthy and prove he deserves the nod.

Les Bowen caught up with Malcolm Jenkins, who is the very early stages of getting acclimated to a new defense.

It's one of those defenses that's very complex for the offense, but should work for us," said Jenkins, the Eagles' biggest offseason defensive addition. "It's obviously led by DeMeco [Ryans, the middle linebacker] and everything he does. He's the centerpiece. Then you've got a pass rush that can get after the quarterback. The thing they were looking for is a safety that can come in and get everybody lined up, bring a sense of calm to the back end and be versatile, play in the slot and on the tight ends, pressure and just solidify that back end."

COMING UP

We'll get our first look at the 2014 Eagles. Kelly speaks at 11:15.

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  • Philip Soloninka

    YESSSSSSS

  • Sam

    I didn’t know much about Malcolm Jenkins prior to him joining the Eagles. Every time the guy opens his mouth, he speaks honestly and says something significant — and does so with humility. Jenkins has shown a lot of leadership qualities, and if that’s a role in which he sees himself (judging by his comments, I’m guessing he believes he is a leader), he will demonstrate those qualities to his teammates this offseason. I’m rooting for him to help the team on that level as well as improving play on the field. Go Birds!

  • Honest_T

    I like what I’m hearing from Jenkins, but where is this “Pass a Rush” of which he speaks?

  • Eagles1018

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy…….

    • A Roy

      Shouldn’t you follow that up with a; “Gee, this is great.”?

      • Andy124

        “Gee, this is great eh.”
        ftfy

    • G_WallyHunter

      What I thought when I saw the 11:15 at the bottom

  • addicted2mula

    Foles at number 70 and WhoSean at 63? I believe Foles should be way higher

    • Eagle in VT

      I agree that he should be higher as well, but I think he got dinged because he basically only played about half of the year.

  • Mike J

    I really think had Wolff not gotten hurt last year there’d be no question as to who’s starting opposite of Jenkins.
    I see Jenkins being the steady vet back there with Wolff flying around making plays.

    • Andy124

      yup

  • Will

    Very interested in how that last safety spot gets filled glad to hear they will get a look at Watkins in both groups…may the best player start at the other Safety spot…

  • JAMIN67

    Is it me, or does Connor Barwin seem like he’d make one hell of a coach one day?

  • Joe from Easton

    Awesome to see Foles in the top 100 and hear what some other NFL players think of him. Hopefully he climbs that list for years to come. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, but if he gets up into the 20′s or 10′s it’s probably directly correlated to the Eagles winning lots of games including playoff games.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Are you referring to the NFL’s Top 100?

      • Andy124

        Yeah, if this is available online somewhere, I’d love to watch it.

        • Joe from Easton
          • Andy124

            That was quick. I just found it here too. Thank you.

            http://www.nfl.com/top100/2014#video=0ap2000000353519

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea, I just watched it moments ago so the link was still sitting in another tab.

            Everyone just speaks of his command and poise. Damn those are adjectives I’ve wanted a QB in Philly to be recognized as for a long time.

          • Andy124

            That was so awesome. Anybody wants to call me a Foles fanboy, feel free. He’ll establish himself as a top-10 qb this year, top-5 within a couple more.

          • Joe from Easton

            I’ve been a self-proclaimed Foles fanboy for a long time.

            I got a heck of a lashing at work during the preseason of his rookie year for saying some of the things that I said. Saved the emails in which I was chided because I felt that inevitably I’d be able to throw them back in these people’s faces.

            I could just see it immediately when he played. You can’t mistake real poise and presence when you see it.

          • Andy124

            Agreed. There were quite a few of us that liked what we saw from him as a rookie. We’ve been proven correct.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea, the guy who got on me the most over my pre-season excitement was a Giants’ fan so needless to say it was a pretty sweet season in terms of trash talking last year.

          • Joe from Easton

            Oh, and I think he’s already a top 10 QB. I can’t name 10 I’d rather have based on 2013 performances and I think others would struggle with that task so yea, top 10.

          • Andy124

            We think he’s top-10, but I think he’ll be universally recognized as top-10. That list already has him ahead of Romo, Stafford and Kaepernick.

          • Joe from Easton

            Gotcha. Everyone but us is stupid!

          • Andy124

            lol.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Excellent!

          • Joe from Easton

            I know Rob. I’m psychic. Would you like to know anything else?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            how to make this rash go away?
            which horse will upset Chrome at the belmont?
            why does my dog gets an erection every time he goes #2?

            let’s start with those, I’ll see what I come up with during lunch.

          • cliff henny

            ummm, 3rd question, that’s not normal?

          • Andy124

            It’s not just dogs is it?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            I mean, I enjoy a good hearty BM as well, but that’s too far. I’m thinking it tickles? either way, I took my query to the best and brightest minds I know :)

          • Joe from Easton

            Thanks man.

          • cliff henny

            your boy needs a softener…he’s struggling, pushing to hard, everything is popping out

          • Joe from Easton

            Guess I need a softener too. That’s what the beer is for.

          • Hanibal Luis

            If the eyes bulge, then you worry. But hey, any bulge right now is an issue.

            Jaylen Watkins, #37? Doesn’t seem right.

          • Joe from Easton

            Baby powder by day and stop paying for sex at night.
            My Jack Russell Terrier is a late entry; he’s going for the win.
            Because he’s watching you get an erection while watching him go #2?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Yikes to #3. But valid first answer….although maybe I should just pay more? Avoid blue light specials?

          • Eagle in VT

            Lol, best part of this thread so far!

          • Joe from Easton

            That might be a start if you can’t kick the whole paying for it thing. I mean do you get dumplings from the C rated restaurants in Chinatown, or the A rated spots?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            what grade would you give the guy on the corner selling dumplings 6 for $1 out of a tupperware? because, him

          • Andy124

            B+

          • Joe from Easton

            Oh those are grade A, guaranteed.

          • cliff henny

            was their Chinese waiting in line? remember rule of thumb out in LA, those Mexican roach coaches, if it’s all white people lined up, pass on it.

          • Andy124

            Maclin is all over these clips (Mathis, Foles, Peters). Love that kid. More than ever, I’m hoping for huge numbers for him this year.

          • Joe from Easton

            He’s going to put up some numbers, don’t worry about that. Everyone is trying to benchmark him at Jackson’s numbers last year, but I don’t think he needs to do that. Just give me 1k plus and 8 TD’s and our offense will be just fine.

          • TNA

            NFL.com needs a copyeditor. If you sort by “Team”, it spells the Eagles option as “Philidelphia”. I could see some intern extrapolating Philly to Philli to Philidelphia….pretty funny.

            I like these quotes from players on other teams…

            I also get the sense that Mathis is a joker by way of the intro to his clip…very funny.

          • Andy124

            Loved the hair prep. He’s definitely a joker.

      • Joe from Easton

        Yes sir.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Thanks that’s what I thought. Haven’t looked at it just yet.

    • Wilbert31

      Has Dutch or #7 blasted these players on their twitter accounts? How can they say such good things about a career backup?

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I dunno about Watkins at Safety. I mean I think he’ll be a player, and is my leading candidate to be our steal of this draft. But 4.3 speed? I think that belongs on the outside when combined with his good size. Sure he could eventually convert to Safety down the line. But how many safeties are [capable of] running 4.3?

    • Andy124

      Yeah, but it’s high 4.3s :)

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I’d have to think that no bum ankle he runs around 4.35ish. That’s still fast & you can see he has exceptional closing speed when playing off in zone coverage.

    • cliff henny

      I’d love to see 4.3 go sideline to sideline though.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I mean its not like I couldn’t see him there. To me, he’s a bigger/faster version of Boykin. So I can see him being in the middle and being a ballhawking type cover safety. It’s just that we’ve picked two safeties the past 2yrs & also signed 3 (1 is gone), resigned another. So we’re thick/deep there but could really use his speed and athleticism outside. We just don’t have anyone outside of Boykin that can keep up with the faster guys on the outside. Boykin runs a 4.44 & Watkins ran a 4.41 on a bum ankle. So Watkins easily becomes the fastest guy in the secondary.

        • cliff henny

          hope Eagles blur lines between safeties and corner. let 2 gapping d-line and mlbs take care of the run, and have 4-6 dbs that can fly around and make plays on the ball. Dawks my alltime favorite, but NFL is outlawing his type of play (Cam’s a freak, has ET3 too). I want ballhawking freaks flying around, sure tacklers, and any ball with air under over 15 yards downfield is a 50/50 ball.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I can certainly see Watkins as that type of player.

          • Hanibal Luis

            Darn, that was what i was about to say. They’ll get to the point where you won’t know who going to cover who, where or blitz. Love me some DB sacks.

    • JofreyRice

      I think Dawk ran a 4.3 something, coming out of Clemson. Earl Thomas ran a 4.3 something. Also, bear in mind, all these guys talk about running 4.3s every year, before they run the 40, healthy or not.

      • Joe from Easton

        I was young when Dawk came out, but I don’t know if I ever remember him having elite speed like that. Great instincts certainly made it seem like he got there pretty quickly, but I think that was because he was reading the play before most other safeties ever would be able to. I could be wrong.

        • JofreyRice

          really? Nah, Dawk could fly. The speed combined with the instincts and violence are what made him one of the top S’s of his generation, IMO.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea, you’re probably right. I was 9 when Dawk got drafted so I’d say I didn’t truly appreciate him or football until probably 2000 – 2001. I’m sure he had the speed that you’re talking about if you say so.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah man, he was a joy to watch. I’m hoping the Eagles get a player like him again someday. I was watching the top 100 featuring Kam Chancellor last night, and thinking about Dawk in his heyday. Much better player than Chancellor, even though he was about 5 inches shorter.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea, Dawk was much better than almost any safety ever in my opinion. Maybe I’m a homer, but he’s a first ballot hall of famer. I’d put him up there with guys like Lott and Reed all day.

            These guys today don’t have to do what those guys used to do. They cover more I think, but as far as laying it on the line and wrecking people, those days are over. I don’t think we’ll ever see safety play like Dawk, Atwater, Lott, Reed, or Polamalu ever again.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          My favorite NFL player of all time. He was fast, just not crazy elite fast. He could turn on the jets but was more consistently a 4.45-4.5 guy.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea that’s how I remember him. One of my all-time favorite plays of his was running down Bob Marley, I mean Ricky Williams, and doing the weapon-X flying leap and subsequently ripping Williams’ arm out of the socket.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I was waiting for someone to bring up Dawk. He clocked a low in the 4.3s his senior year, but I believe he was officially around 4.45. Funny how it gets really hard to find official combine data the further you go back. But talking about running a 4.3 & running a 4.41 on a sprained ankle and then saying you could’ve probably ran in the 4.3s though are two different things. No bum ankle & I gotta believe he runs 4.35ish. That’s effing fast! ET ran a 4.43 (official) at the combine and a 4.37 at his pro day.

        • JofreyRice

          yeah, it is tricky to find his 40 time, but Google and the Clemson website have him in the 4.3′s. Also happened on Roided up Laron Landry’s 4.35 and Reggie Nelson’s 4.35 40 times when looking for Dawk’s official time. Man, I certainly get why Landry went as high as he did. Built like a LB with 4.35 time, and played at LSU? Reputation has always been bigger than his play on the field, though.

          Polamalu also ran a 4.33. Unbelieveable player.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yeah that was the 40 time I was talking about from his senior year where he clocked a low in the 4.3s. But I’ve looked at him as a guy that consistently ran high 4.4s on the field, but could occasionally Weapon X a 4.3 when he was amped up on adrenaline.

            Maybe I’ll tweet him and see if he’ll spill the beans on his combine numbers. I tried that with TO, but got no response. But Dawk is much more forthcoming and approachable.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, I saw him as the fastest defender on the field during his prime–talking 2002-2006 or so. Running guys down from behind, taking picks the other way. And JJ had him cover a ton of space. Would blitz him from way back because Dawk could cover so much green so quickly, caught a lot of protections off-guard.

            I think all the huge hits had taken their effect later on in his career. By 2008, I think he was essentially being used like Kam Chancellor, sort of a glorified linebacker. The absence of a player like that still haunts this defense.

  • Eagle in VT

    Players I’ll be watching: all of the ones returning for the second year in the program. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I can’t help but be excited to see the impact of the Sports Science program for the returning players. Word is that Ertz looks great and check out this pic of Boykin in the weight room…he looks absolutely JACKED. I know every NFL player is well conditioned but I truly think we have an edge here.

    • Joe from Easton

      Is it wrong that I wanted to see the pic and then you didn’t have it here? lol.

      • Eagle in VT

        It’s not showing? I refreshed and it showed; try that.
        To be clear, those look like really big arms on a guy who is only 5′ 9″ or 5′ 10″

        • Joe from Easton

          There it is… Yea, that’s a jacked up 5’9″ right there. Remember shorter muscle will look wider (in other words it’s hard for a long guy to look big <— sheesh that's some innuendo), but he's a physical freak none the less. His vertical is ridiculous.

          • George

            Ive heard its mid-40s

          • Joe from Easton

            go on you tube and look up him in a dunk contest in high school.

          • George

            Ive seen that, its insane… probably could have played bball at georgia too

          • cliff henny

            there’s a recent pick of him reverse dunking 2 handed, bent arms. looks like well over 3 feet off ground. cant even imagine, I get nervous jumping off 2nd to last step nowadays

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Unfortunately since he broke his foot at the senior bowl we’ll never know for sure. I think it should be a requirement that all injured players be put through the battery of tests once healthy just to satisfy our hunger for ridiculous sports data…lol.

          • George

            so true. I wonder if hulls could get him up to 50. That’d be insane

    • cliff henny

      GEt’EM Hals! that’s Eagles small undersized slot corner?! going to look like a bunch of gazelle like gorillas under Kelly. so glad Reid’s undersized fastballs are gone.

    • addicted2mula

      Sheesh!! Seems like everybody is coming back bigger and stronger! In Chip I Trust

      • Eagle in VT

        It does seem that way. I wonder what kind of off-season regiment they gave to the players for conditioning. Specifically, how it differs from the past.

        • addicted2mula

          Whatever it Is don’t change nothing Chip. I can imagine what they will look like next year. I wonder how many players want to join the Eagles on the low.

          • Warhound

            Don’t change anything in their regimen? I don’t know about that. Science doesn’t sit still. I expect they will continue to adapt their program, constantly striving to be better then yesterday.

          • brent

            i think players want to join winning franchises with a pedigree of excellence, just a hunch.

    • JofreyRice

      I like the custom 45 pound plate! Man, I’d love to see the inside of that gym.

  • cliff henny

    I hope to hear how players look in general. full off-season under Hals, see bunch of bigger stronger faster fitter guys.

  • myeaglescantwin

    One player to watch.
    Mr. Nick Foles.

    if he can build on last year and put together another top level season, we will know we have something special in the Nick-&-Chip connection. This season will mean a lot for this ball club and more importantly this city.

  • anon

    What’s the point of this article? I’d rather read about sean lee, andre johnson trade rumors than straight filler if there’s no good eagles news. (my opinion)

    • Javi Echie

      An eagles blog and you want to hear more about Sean Lee and Andre Johnson?..makes no sense, Lee is done for the year that’s that and Johnson is still holding out that’s it, for that just go to profootballtalk or espn

      • anon

        My point is if there’s no eagles news maybe we can get some news on division rivals maybe tantalize me with stories of how we’re trading for andre johnson (maybe that’s a little far fetched). Maybe that was the benefit of blogging the beast.

        • myeaglescantwin

          to his point. This is a blog called birds 24/7 thats run by two eagles beat reporters.
          i think they’re doing quite well in their niche.

        • Javi Echie

          Completely understand friend I’m pretty starved for eagles news to

      • myeaglescantwin

        profootballtalk is a joke anymore. They rarely proofread or break news anymore..
        It’s like the ‘kayak’ of sports. “we steal from hundreds of sites, so you don’t have to”.

        • Javi Echie

          Absolutely agree

        • southy

          I find myself using kayak quite often.

          • myeaglescantwin

            it’s not a bad deal at all.

            i still use profootball talk for dishes around the league. (sometimes)

    • cliff henny

      appetite teaser for the real news coming after lunch

  • cliff henny

    Wolff beats out Allen, wonder if Allen even makes team. only costs 750k in dead as an insurance policy over spring, frees up 2.25m if cut. Maragos in a lock, so are Reynolds and Wolff. Reynolds is pretty solid special teamer and Allen has never played. see how Keelan Johnson plays, but 5th guy is deactivated gameday so rather develop KJ.

    • Andy124

      Yeah, certainly possible in order to roll that money over. I think they’d have to like what they see in KJ on top of Wolff winning the job by a large margin for that to happen though, things that are definite possibilities.

    • aub32

      Allen was bad last year. I think he definitely makes the team. STs is important, but we need someone capable in case Wolff goes back down.

      • cliff henny

        not like teams were beating down his door this off-season. by time he’s cut, most teams will be set at safety. he might be available on the streets during season if something goes real wrong

        • aub32

          I don’t know how comfortable I would be with that scenario. Even Wolff didn’t come in and start last year. Kelly clearly wants to ease the rookies into games, if possible. Wolff is still a bit green having missed so much time last year. I don’t know if rotating him with a rookie would really be the way to go. Plus there’s always a chance that Jenkins goes down. That would leave us hurting for veteran safety play.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Last point speaks to the still lacking depth. To me, the 3 most critical players who have to play 16 games (in order) are: Barwin, Demeco, and Jenkins.
            I do think improved CB play, and overall safety play (no chung, addition of Maragos and jenkins plus older Wolff and somewhat stable Allen) will help a lot.

          • aub32

            I agree. We lack depth in the secondary. I don’t know if I see CW improving his play much, but I can see where he would look better just from having average to slightly above average safety play. I hope that Watkins can emerge. I’d love for him, Fletch, and Boykin to be our CBs going forward, with Caroll coming in to dispel Fletch every now and again.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I don’t think Carroll came here to ride the pine. I think he’s looking to push Fletch, since he’s regarded as a Fletch clone. Watkins speed and athleticism could very well overwhelm Cary. I like Boykin to stay inside. If this doesn’t happen this year, I think that’s your CBs next year.

          • aub32

            I’m fine with waiting a year. I hope that we resign Fletch though (I think his contract is up after this year) He’s a good player and would make for good depth even if beaten out by Caroll. I don’t see any way how CW comes back for the money he’s supposed to make next year.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I agree, I like Fletch too. Just concerned over his being prone to injury. Remember too that he’s a guy that has played some safety too. I know some people like Cary & his toughness. I do too, but not nearly as much as some people. I just think he’s a limited athlete and I’ll take a guy that makes plays (Watkins) as my #1 over a tough guy that gives up too many plays.

      • Andy124

        Have to see how much they trust Keelan and/or Ed.

        • aub32

          He was serviceable last year. I think he’s a low end #2 safety.

          • Andy124

            I agree. But it’s not like it was a sure thing they’d even bring him back. They were prepared to play this season without him.

            Seems like they may have brought him back strictly as a safety net. IF the younger guys impress to where they don’t feel like they need that safety net, and with Chip preaching special teams for backups, I think it’s certainly possible that they cut Allen to save the cap room. Good chance? Not really. But realistic possibility, yup.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Agreed.

          • aub32

            I’d never rule out the possibility of a vet making little to no guaranteed money getting cut. Scrooge McRoseman seems to be trying to save every penny this offseason.

    • JosephR2225

      Have to figure, at least this year, that if Wolff beats Allen, Allen would still be the third-best safety on the defense. If anyone gets hurt I don’t know that the Eagles would be better off counting on Keelan Johnson or Ed Reynolds to fill the spot.

      • cliff henny

        Maragos, by osmosis he had to pick up some talent, no?

        • Jerry Pomroy

          That’s the hope. I think he’s a better option than Anderson at the safety spot, but not quite the guy to spell you if you’re top guys go down for an extended period of time. I think Nate’s your short term insurance policy.

    • Chris

      Only thing taking me away from the Wolff beats Allen thing is that they were interviewing jenkins and he was talking as if he and Allen were the starters..I know that it’s obviously up to the coaches but there has to be something to that. I’m a huge Wolff fan, heard he’s been killing it in the offseason so i’m pulling for him. I’m just afraid they may go with Nate out of the gate due to his experience.

      • cliff henny

        if I were Kelly and Davis, I’d have Allen as starter in off-season, take pressure off Wolff. I just didn’t see that much out of Allen, best I can say is mid-level vet starter. if we want elite talent, got to develop it, right now that’s Wolff. i’ll be little worried if Allen beats out Wolff, cause I’d start Wolff even if he’s slightly behind, just has a lot more of an upside.

        • Chris

          yea, 100% on board with that. TC starters should be jenkins and allen to ease Wolff in…I think we all hope he can take over for Allen, but if not i’d expect him to do so sometime in-season. If he can’t take over for Allen it better be because Allen really showed up….

    • JofreyRice

      yeah, that was my thought as well. The counterargument to that is that Allen is a solid backup, if Wolff’s knee starts acting up again. Like you said, I think it will depend on Keenan Johnson or whoever,

      • cliff henny
        • Jerry Pomroy

          I was dancing the jig when I saw that we picked my boys Smith & Matthews, Boyscout style, in my living room.

          • cliff henny

            did you have one of your kids teddy bear? have you watched that movie lately? I can remember liking it, and about year or so ago sat thru about 10 minutes and thought it was the stupidest cheesiest hack garbage I’d ever seen

          • Jerry Pomroy

            No teddy bear. I like the movie, but not love the movie. There is some terrible acting. But tastes also change with age.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        Agree with you both, but at least this year I’d say keep Allen. To me, it’s more whether or not Maragos can play (not KJ), I’d think if anyone is likely to come in as #3 from that group it’s him. Reynolds would have to be a very solid #4, as well, for Allen to go. Even if he’s a low-level #2 or #3 safety, he’s still a dirt cheap vet for 1 year. Worth it in my eyes.

    • John E. Zang

      I think everyone really undersells Allen as a player and talent. He’s still a talented player that’s finally in the same defense for two years with the upgrade of a defensive staff that actually knows what they’re doing and wasn’t put together by Andy “who should I fire next” Reid.

  • Hanibal Luis

    Is it just me or are there less pics and coverage of the rookie mini camp and the OTAs than there was last year.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      No you’re right. But last year it was all about what scheme are we running, Chip’s practice style, sports science, etc.

      • Hanibal Luis

        True. But I like seeing the action pics of the guys in action, especially the new FAs and rookies wearing their numbers.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I do as well. Just saying that there wasn’t as much mystery this year. I will say that it seems that Tim & Sheil have been spoon feeding us lately.

    • cliff henny

      was there any? didn’t even know there was a rookie mini-camp

    • mtn_green

      Yes there as more. I think.
      There was also new coach mini camp.

    • DoctorRick

      I’m looking forward to the music playlist.

      • Hanibal Luis

        Was there a playlist last year? I know Chip’s whole music with practice thing but was there an actual playlist released?

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    Marcus Smith is gonna be an absolute BEAST! I know this community doesn’t need to be told that, but I can’t wait to laugh at all the casual fans who’ve been screaming that he’s a 3rd round talent, and the Eagles are back to thinking they’re smarter than everyone else. This time around, they really might be. #ICWT

    • mtn_green

      Yes. But…he had weak competition, many sacks gifted, etc.

      We shall see something in preseason. Can’t tell mucho in TC.

      I’m hopeful.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        You’re looking at the end results and not the skill he possesses for a guy that was a QB just over 3yrs ago. His upside is tremendous & there were respected people that praised his skills as a pass rusher. You can’t just look at stats and project a player. Especially a pass rusher. For example, where’d the guy that lead the nation in sacks go in the draft? Murphy & Dee Ford may have the stats. But they don’t have the skills and attributes that translate to a good NFL pass rusher.

        • southy

          The talk about Marcus Smith always boils – frustratingly – down to sacks. What I like about him is he already covers better than any of our LOLBs, sets the edge about as good as Cole does now, and has a lot of upside in the pass rush (especially if he can learn from Cole).

          Having a guy on the left side that can do all 3 things opens up opportunities for all 4 LBs to rush the passer, which makes the defense better, even if his sack totals aren’t eye popping.

    • JofreyRice

      I really hope so. If the role they envision for Smith is “ROLB of the future”, I’m hoping that Cole embraces him the way Tamba Hali has embraced Dee Ford, from the reports out of KC.

      I think Smith can learn a lot from Cole not only in how to prepare, train, practice, etc., but also on the nuts and bolts of rushing the passer–setting up tackles, judging the snap, hand usage. Also hoping Davis can manufacture some wide open looks for Smith & Barwin based on their versatility.

      • Reasonableeaglefan

        I’m curious to hear what you guys thought of the Dee Ford to KC pick. My first thought was this was Andy plugging a Brandon Graham sized square peg in a 3-4 OLB round hole. Then I figured the just wanted to squeeze Hali for money, which I still believe, especially after a report leaked that Hali is out of overweight, like that matters much in April and may. Then I heard Diddinger(who I love) speculate that he thought the eagles were targeting Ford at 26 and got caught with their pants down, and had to settle on Smith. I personally would have been disapointed with picking Ford, despite the higher grades out there. Picking him would have been like starting the clock over on Graham and waiting to see if he could convert to fit the scheme

        • JofreyRice

          I really like Ford. If KC picked Ford to pressure Hali, I don’t think it worked so well. He’s embraced Ford with arms wide open–saying Ford’s first step looks like what he studied from Derrick Thomas; pretty high praise. Of course, Ford’s speed is going to be showcased at a non-contact OTA, we’ll have to see how he does when they go live. Ford’s got a lot to learn in terms of dropping and playing the run, no doubt.

          I don’t really see him as a “fastball” type. Big difference in picking a 6’2 252 pound guy to play rush OLB and picking a 6′ 250 pound guy to play LDE and moving him inside to DT on passing downs (Graham, in 2010). Louis Riddick said Ford was playing at around 7% body fat at that weight, which is just ridiculous.

          I would have loved to have Ford. I thought Roseman said they had him rated higher, as a passrusher, than Smith? Not sure about that, but I think it was in those first set of comments during the draft, that they tried to backtrack from the next day.

          • Andy124

            It was a little ambiguous as to whether he meant that Ford was the next rusher on their board, or the next rusher they expected to get drafted.

          • JofreyRice

            interesting. I guess that would mean that they have two boards, their own ranking, and some objective ranking where they’re trying to guess how the other 31 teams might value players.

          • Andy124

            Yeah. As another example, I definitely inferred that from Roseman insisting Hart would be there in the 5th as well. But it was less clear when he was talking about Ford.

            I’m really not sure if they had Ford rated higher on their wish list than Smith or not. I’m going with not, because that is my preferred version of reality.

          • JofreyRice

            sounds good!

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            I was wondering about that. Can’t imagine Howie thought KC would pick a rusher with the 2 they have in place. It made me wonder if we did get taken

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            Really, because “fastball” was the first thing that popped to my mind when I saw the Ford pick. I just looked up the Graham combine stats, he was 6’1″ and 268 lbs. He’s bulked and cut down so many time I forgot where he was as a rookie. I really don’t see a huge difference, except for bodyfat, especially if 7% is accurate. Hali embracing him speaks to his character, but if Ford has a pulse, Tamba is going to be looking for a job next year when Houston wants a new contract.
            I’d be curious how much they asked Hali to drop last year. I’m guess it’s minimal. Can’t see Ford doing that any better than converts like Cole and Graham.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I take the term fastball to not only mean the size but the type of rusher. Quick burst, shoot upfield, linear straight line, outside rushers.

          • JofreyRice

            wow, didn’t remember that Graham was that heavy. Short tho, with short arms, right? Sort of a classic tweener being asked to set the edge against very physical backs in the division, at the time–Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber–and then become a nickel DT. I don’t think KC’s moving Dee Ford into DT at any point, at least, I’d hope Andy has learned something.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            He’ll ease him in I’d think as a 3rd down pass rusher in a 4 down linemen front. Just like he did with Cole years ago until he was able to be a 3 down player. Problem is (at least with me) I don’t see where he fits down the line in a base 3-4. I think Andy drafted what he knew, rather than what he needed to fit that defense. That said, they could be looking to use their base defense only on 1st down and short yardage.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, I expect they’ll do some of that , but I wouldn’t rule out stuff where they’ll be a little more creative than just a 4 man front, because of what Poe can do. Bob Sutton learned under Rex Ryan, and did some cool stuff with that D last season. I really wish Andy would have found that guy while he was in Philly, instead of hiring our Offensive Line coach for the defense.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Lol! I think the defensive mishaps the past few years of his regime are what really did him in for good. Yeah he lost the players, but he started to lose the handle on the defense first and then it was all downhill from there.

          • JofreyRice

            really makes you wonder how long he would have lasted without JJ. I mean, he hired JJ, so he gets some credit, but he also engineered the Washburn/Juanita sideshow and made some other really stupid decisions during his time here.

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            6’1″ with 32 1/4 arms. Not ideal for setting the edge, but I don’t think anyone thinks that will be Fords strength. Here’s his combine link.

            http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/brandon-graham?id=496788

            Has Andy really learned? I mean someone has to slide inside in obvious passing downs and I can’t see them asking Hali or Houston to do that. Not saying Ford does, more like, how do they utilize him since it wasn’t a position of need

          • JofreyRice

            They were pretty creative last year, and don’t forget, Poe really emerged as a force to draw multiple blockers. I could see a scenario where they put all 3 OLBs on the field at once.

            The sliding DE’s into DTs was a Jim Johnson thing, that Spagnuolo adopted and used Justin Tuck in to great success with the Giants. McDermott did it with Graham, but Sutton is not from that tree, at all.

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            Good point about Poe. I was surprised how he got his weight in check and really emerged. I remember some of that creativity, I can definitely recall them moving Hali and or Houston and blitzing them up the middle against the Eagles. I actually think Barwins versatility allows the Eagles to be even more creative by putting their 3 OLB’s on the field at once with maybe curry or Cox as an interior rusher. You could argue that their top three guys get after the QB better, but you could make the case that we can put a pass rushing front that will allow as much versatility and creativity as anyone.

          • JofreyRice

            I’m thinking that the kind of confusion they can cause because of the versatility is what they hang their hat on.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Agreed. Ford is a shoot up the field type DE that would work well in a wide front. He’s not quite the pass rush force many have him out to be. He’s got some learning to do to become a more complete player. Liability against the run & 3rd down player until he can learn to set edge & read the run.

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            My worst nightmare is they out him in an Aldon Smith type role his first year and puts up big sack numbers, it won’t matter if he does anything else. Everyone will be screaming that we blew the pick

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I don’t see it. Ford’s too straight line a rusher right now. Aldon Smith is a freak. Ford needs to build on his pass rush moves & also his lower body technique (along with his run instincts) to become an effective 3 down player. They would be best served utilizing him as a backside 3rd down rusher in a 4 man front. Plus, let’s remember that AR’s strength is not drafting LBs. He drafts what he likes, which are smaller framed, quick burst, shoot upfield rushers.

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            I agree with a lot of those critiques on for this, but I don’t think they will ask him to be a complete player this year. That’s why Aldon came to mind. He was given a paired down set of responsibilities and surrounded with quality talent and really excelled from day one. Ford repeating that template is my worst nightmare

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            Also, I just got done listening to Chip’s press conference. Les Bowen asked him point-blank if Brandon Graham was a fit. He flatly replied he was. End of story. Nothing to see here. Although his reply to Les’ follow up that he’d prefer if he was 6’11″ and 400 pounds was kind of funny

  • Reasonableeaglefan

    The player to watch is Earl Wolff. If he beats out Nate, and provides an upgrade we could see some marked improvement in the secondary. Besides him, no other player, besides Jenkins, will be a significant upgrade over last years starter even if we have a change in the starter, like maybe Watkins could push for

    • peteike

      safety and CB depth will prove to be much better. Lot of nickel and dime packages bring more of them out, then injuries are always possible so it helps and comes into play. Boykin another year improved also with the pass rush in general and hopefully tackles/lbs brings up the entire unit.

      • Reasonableeaglefan

        Depth in the secondary should be vastly improved, I just hope we have enough playmakers back there. Hard to call anyone but Boykin a playmaker in that unit at this point.

        • peteike

          true, like you said Watkins the one to watch. Reynolds eventually but not counting on that much. Maybe in a season or two assuming he makes it.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Don’t sleep on “The Other Watkins”. Kid is the fastest guy we have back there & is just as athletic as the BoyKing. Plus 2″-3″ taller & 15-20lbs heavier.

  • addicted2mula

    over at BGN they are giving live tweets on the OTA’s. pretty interesting
    D. Johnson is catching everything!

    • peteike

      pretty cool, thanks

  • peteike

    “DeSean Jackson standing on sideline with ice wrapped around left hammy.”

    • addicted2mula

      Andre R. cant get separation.

    • Joe from Easton

      Better to get rid of them a year early than a year late… Once he loses that speed he’s worthless.

  • Andy124
    • Joe from Easton

      Is this guy serious?

      • Andy124

        Yes. Heard he had the 3rd best arm on the team last year. Behind Sopoaga and that other guy. :)

  • peteike

    so Sanchez some bad throws, hope that doesnt rub off on Foles. Someone tweeted the Braman kid has some speed and size. I was thinking he was just ST help and depth, maybe not? Murderleg nails a 50 yarder with room to spare.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      A 50 yarder?? That’s like hitting from 60 to us right now.

    • JAMIN67

      Murderleg.

      • NCBiRDMann22

        Tweet has murderleg saying his range is 66… Can hear the chants now…murder murder murder lol.

    • Token

      ST “ace” if that. dont get crazy over OTAs.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        The cards are in Braman’s hands as far as how much time he sees. Don’t forget that Chip stated that he would like to see Braman compete for some playing time and thought he was overlooked as a LB in HOU.

        • Joe from Easton

          Any dude that looks like a caveman and tackles people sans helmet deserves a chance to compete for PT. If he earns it, he’ll get it. That’s just how chipper rolls.

        • Token

          Whats he supposed to say? Braman is a ST player and I wouldnt even call him a “ace” at that. Expectations should be quite low for him.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I would expect they are. But Barwin needs to be spelled.

      • peteike

        ya I was asking, Im def not expecting much or would ever take too much stock in OTAs. Best you can hope to see is athleticism, speed etc. Demaris is tearing it up out there haha

    • Joe from Easton

      Don’t think bad throws will rub off on foles… hopefully the good foles rubs off on sanchez.

  • NCBiRDMann22

    Jordan Mathews updates?…and other rookies??

    • peteike

      “WR Jordan Matthews not here today. He’s at rookie symposium.” that live tweet session on BGN someone mentioned below is great. Sproles lookin good also. “Darren Sproles among most impressive performers at #Eagles OTA today. Great hands, balance, the whole package. Doesn’t look a day over 29.”

  • NCBiRDMann22

    Was Brandon G and OLB when he played in Michigan…and didn’t they play a 3-4?

    • phillylove21

      Yes he was.. He was more of a edge rusher.. Graham is familiar with the position..

      • NCBiRDMann22

        Just trying to figure out why he keeps kinda getting the label of a square peg in a round hole label…?

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Mainly because he’s not a “fluid” athlete.

    • JofreyRice

      no, he was a left defensive end. But some projected him to switch to OLB in the NFL, because he was short and had a great closing burst–similar to the switch Lamarr Woodley made. That was before the injury, though. I don’t know he’s as physically capable now.

      • Andy124

        Actually, I could swear Michigan played some 3-4 early in his career.

        • JofreyRice

          I only remember him screaming off that Left end, from a 3 point stance, but I didn’t watch every game of every one of his seasons, you could be right. He def. played LE exclusively his senior season, and that’s where McDermott put him as a pro.

          • Andy124

            Yeah, I just remember reading something about that. I don’t think he actually played that much when they ran the 3-4. I always looked at it as a straw people were grasping at. He screams pure 4-3 DE to me. Props to him for doing his damnedest to learn OLB though.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Well that could be why someone below compared him to Ford. Andy loves front side rushers.

          • JofreyRice

            I hear you, but like the lack of activity in free agency, I don’t want to see past mistakes determine future behavior as a blanket policy.

            How would you describe Robert Mathis? Kinda a “fastball” right? I’ll take his 19 sacks on this squad, in a heartbeat, PEDs and all. Cliff Avril has also had some criticism for being a little light and not as stout against the run. Does his part in that Seattle D, standing up as the Predator, or with a hand in the dirt. Ditto on Chris Clemons, a “fastball” Andy brought here, who was apparently jettisoned because he was a locker room cancer. Elvis Dumervil is another guy that’s short and makes his living off that first step; he’s been very productive.

            All that said, Graham’s got no shot here. He may salvage his NFL career as a 4-3 DE somewhere.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I just don’t see room for both Graham & Curry. I get the whole schematic argument. While I’d agree we look better as a 1 gap D, I’d rather roll with the punches & build to the vision than buck the system to change. But I do get your point.

  • JAMIN67

    File this under the “For What It’s Worth” category…but just saw that Jairus Byrd is going to miss the Saints’ OTAs and be out several weeks because of back surgery. Definitely glad that we targeted and got Jenkins.

    • peteike

      wow, bad back is not good no matter what sport. Thats a lotta coin for potential problems but maybe its minor. Either way, back is never good

  • NCBiRDMann22

    PFT has a story up that Byrd just had surgery on his back…might be the reason we wanted no part…

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Apparently Smith II was practicing with the 3s behind Barwin & Braman on the left side. Guessing this is a calculated move to get the rookie acclimated with playing both sides to start the season. Sounds to me that we will eventually see Smith II & Barwin flip flopping from side to side.