What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Mark Sanchez

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Here’s a roundup of what the national media have been saying about the Eagles this past week.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com says wide receiver is the biggest position concern for the Eagles:

They released DeSean Jackson, and now have little in terms of speed outside. Riley Cooper needs help to be effective. Jeremy Maclin is coming off a knee injury. They did draft Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff, but rookie receivers often times struggle.

Scott Kacsmar of FootballOutsiders.com disagrees, says it’s the defensive line:

Philadelphia tried to address some defensive needs with the signing of safety Malcolm Jenkins and the first-round selection of linebacker Marcus Smith (Louisville), but the defensive line returns the same primary rotation of Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan and Vinny Curry. That’s not likely going to work well against the better offenses. Last season, the Eagles ranked 25th in DVOA when rushing four defenders. If you have to blitz to get pressure, that’s a big problem in the NFL.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com thinks it’s premature to rank Nick Foles No. 70 in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players countdown:

Foles was revealed as the No. 70 player on Wednesday’s episode of NFL Network’s “The Top 100 Players of 2014.” That’s ahead of Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford. Only 10 quarterbacks are ahead of Foles.




Putting Foles at the same level as those quarterbacks is premature at best. (It's also early to say Foles is at the same level as veterans like DeSean Jackson, Jason Peters and Cameron Wake, who were revealed on the list this week.) Those guys have arrived. We are still figuring out how good Foles can be, and whether he's even a quarterback Chip Kelly will build around for years to come.

After missing all of last season, Mark Sanchez looks to make the most of his time in Philadelphia. From Don Banks of SI.com:

"Maybe this whole shoulder thing and relocation has just been a blessing in disguise,'' Sanchez said. "I like to think like that. Maybe that year off was exactly what I needed. I got a little rest for my legs, for my arm. I feel great. Whatever happens, however things play out, I've just got to work hard, and I think I'm entering the prime of my career."

John Clayton of ESPN.com projects Philadelphia as a nine- or 10-win team:

Because this will be the team's second year in Chip Kelly's offense, it will run things faster, which will cause problems for defenses. Nick Foles surprised everyone coming off the bench and helping the Eagles get to the playoffs. The question is whether he is good enough to get them to the 11- or 12-win level. The pace of the game will help Foles. Defenses may have a chance of figuring him out by studying video, but Kelly can keep opponents guessing with his pace and play calling. If RG III comes back with a strong season, I think the Eagles and Redskins are the teams to beat in the NFC East, with Philadelphia having the edge.

Steve Palazzolo of ProFootballFocus.com analyzes how quarterbacks performed in shotgun, pistol and under center situations last season:

All three Eagles quarterbacks (Foles, Michael Vick, Matt Barkley) were in the shotgun on over 90 percent of their dropbacks.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com label Zach Ertz as one of the toughest tight ends to rank:

Including playoffs, Ertz delivered a 25-290-5 line over Philly's final nine games. Extrapolated across a 16-game slate, Ertz's nine touchdowns would have ranked fourth among tight ends behind Graham, Davis, and Orange Julius.

Michael Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com goes into the comments section to explain why the Eagles' offensive line isn't one of the top-10 in the NFL:

The Eagles got credit in the system for two Pro Bowlers and a top prospect in Lane Johnson, but the system was unimpressed enough by their sack total and down-for-down rushing work that they slid down to 11th. I consider them to be in a similar bin to the 49ers line, and one of the reason I stopped at a Top Five is because there no great way of filtering and quantifying so many variables, then balancing them with reputations and whatnot.

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  • Johnny Domino

    Gregg must have missed the memo on arriving.

    • Garrett Dillon

      I think he missed that it was “The Top 100 Players of 2014″ not “The Top 100 Players Currently Active” or “The Top 100 Players Based on Career Production”. Foles was legitimately a top 100 player based on 2014, and that’s what that list ranks, not anything else.

      • Kenneth Wayne

        If anything, he should be ranked way higher. He was the 2nd best QB in the league in 2014.

        • Aussie Eagle

          2014 hasn’t started yet. These rankings use 2013 as a base to make 2014 PREDICTIONS

  • Javi Echie

    Pete Prisco’s analysis doesn’t make sense because we actually do not need speed Chip’s offense is predicated on the run game and moving the chains in the passing game so he needs receivers that can make tough grabs not receivers that can run really fast for big plays every play. Scott Koscmer sounds dumb since we have a good, young defensive line and we have Kruger coming back and drafted Taylor Hart so just because of the one playoff loss that is a cause for concern like you’re a joke shut up. I guess Greg Rosenthal doesn’t understand the meaning of Top 100 players of 2013, which means best players of LAST SEASON, if Foles doesn’t deserve to be on that list then I need some of what he’s smoking. The rest of the writers make some decent points but that’s all the credit they get.

  • Kevin

    On the DeSean – Cooper – McCoy conversation… I have to admit, I get confused on the logic and the numbers. In a base 3-1 set, the Defense can keep 7 ‘in the box’ with a single high safety and man coverage on the 3 WR’s. In theory, that gives us 6 blockers (5 OL + 1TE) vs. 7 Defenders, meaning that Foles should pass (assuming he is not carrying out a fake to freeze a defender or some type of other action is going on). In any case, 2 of the 3 WR will have single coverage, regardless of the speed issue. The question should be, can Maclin beat 1 on 1 coverage. If he can, then the single high safety needs to choose either to help with Cooper, Maclin or the Slot WR. We know Cooper can beat 1 on 1 coverage (he did last year). We hope Matthews/Huff/Smith can to a greater degree than Avant. So nothing schematically changes without DeSean. The only possible change is that the deep safety may be able to creep closer to the line because he doesn’t fear the speed, but by all accounts, Maclin, Huff and Matthews are slow and can provide a vertical threat.
    It just seems to me that this DeSean element is slightly over simplified to what is Cooper going to do now when he is double teamed. The answer should be, watch Maclin and Matthews and Huff and Sproles and Ertz have field days.
    The other point no one is making is that the WR blocking should be upgraded this year (as long as Maclin blocks and doesn’t self tackle himself), which should help Shady break some more long runs.
    Am I looking at this wrong? Or am I crazy not to be overly concerned with the loss of DeSean?

    • Maggie

      The loss of who?

    • poetx99

      i think the absence of djax will make things a bit cloudier, pre-snap. with desean, you absolutely knew that the safety was giving deep help and rolling to his side, and that opened up a ton of things for cooper on the backside where foles only had to read the leverage and loft the ball opposite the cover guy.

      with maclin coming off the knee injury, unless he absolutely beasts in preseason, i think that it will be more up in the air, at least early in the season, as far as whether or not teams roll coverage to him, meaning the safety can play more traditionally than they would with desean on the outside.

      but that’s no problem for chip to deal with. he just loses an added benefit and will have to scheme to make up for it.

      if matthews is as explosive and good after the catch as he has been reported to be, early, a team may be able to play maclin and cooper more conventionally, but now has the threat of matthews to hold the FS. and with matthews, sproles, huff and more shady, these defenders had BETTER bring their A game as far as tackling is concerned, or it’s Death by a Thousand Cuts.

    • anon

      Lose one player get 4 + cap room, i’ll live. Antics aside, Djax is a deep threat, Foles isn’t a great deep ball thrower. Deep routes slow down the offense. We had more big plays off screens than we did deep balls.

      We now have better route runners (sproles, mac, matthews, huff) and better blockers. The offense will look different but it’ll be more effective b/c it’ll play more to Foles’ skills. Short plays allow you to get back to the huddle faster, ball gets out quicker, not missing under routes b/c you’re waiting for djax 40yds down the field, etc.

      • Kev_H

        I believe your screens vs deep balls conclusion is false. Do you have a source? I know Foles threw 20+ yards down the field over 17% of the time which was higher than any other QB in football and Was 7th in completion percentage on long passes.

      • Kev_H

        There’s probably an easier way, but I went to pro-football-reference.com, sorted Foles completions by yards gained and manually counted 18 labeled “deep” throws vs. 12 labeled “short” throws for gains of 25 or more. I’m sure all the “short” throws weren’t screens.

  • EaglefaninAZ

    Grrr… can’t wait to shut some of these folks up. Plus I just wanna get the dang season started already! Supremely juiced about this season.

    • Rambler

      Lay off the juice, my fellow Arizona fan. You might get suspended.

      • Hanibal Luis

        It will only be his first. He’ll still be around for the stretch run.

  • Tautalatasi Jr.

    I think its premature to rank Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com No. 70 in NFL Network’s Top 100 writers of NFL.com named Gregg ending in 2 g’s

    • Andy124

      Seriously. Afterall, I’m only the 124th ranked Andy.

      • OldDocRoss

        OVERRATED!

        • Andy124

          ikr

          • OldDocRoss

            I can only imagine the shame felt by Andy125…

      • Tautalatasi Jr.

        buck up Andy, I’m sure in the right system and the right smooties you can break the Top 100 posters of birds 24/7 named Andy, next year

      • UKEagle99

        Another y would really help. You could be the 99th ranked Andyy. I’ll be lucky to break the top 1000 limey’s rhyming with Pheagles.

      • Hanibal Luis

        But #2 in our hearts ;)

    • jon h

      So it’s the 2014 best players – based on his stats, who is better? I don’t think the ranking was best careers as of 2014 unless i’m reading it wrong. If anything, Foles deserves to be much higher on the list

  • peteike

    hes right about the D line, they need to get better pressure. The reason so many of us faulted the back end was not enough pressure. Hope the young guyss step up and scheme aspect is huge, Im sure the stats were much better second half of season. as they got familiar.

    Per the silly list, hes right to wait on judging Foles, not many should disagree in that sense. Sounds like he was wrong about the merits of the list, but again, its a list, who cares. Gotta love those Ertz stats. We know its a top O line, they can ponder all the stats they want, top rushing team says enough for me.

    • Maggie

      Foles, like the others, is supposed to be rated on this list for 2013. Nothing else.

  • Dominik

    Poor intern. First week into the job and he has to rummage through articles from Prisco and Rosenthal. Isn’t there a law against something like that? ;)

    • NickS1

      Cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    Rosenthal is an idiot. Foles was easily the 70th best player in the NFL in 2013. and that’s exactly what those rankings mean. for that year. not for your career. or if a guy has arrived. its did this guy ball out this year and deserve to be 70. and the answer is YES!! YES!!! YES!!…to hell with Romo and the others he passed. they sucked and that’s that..

    • OldDocRoss

      Isn’t it meant to be based on how they did last year *and* how they expect them to do in the coming season? On that basis his comments on whether a player has “arrived” kind of make sense because it’s more reasonable to expect someone to perform well if they’ve been doing it for a period of time.

      • Brent E. Sulecki

        no

        • Brent E. Sulecki

          every year guys slip and slide on the list doesn’t mean they are any less of a player just means their season wasn’t the best. ex. Adrian Peterson. peyton manning.

        • OldDocRoss

          Source? Or at least, “source that trumps Andy’s Wikipedia entry”?

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            I have none. just my opinion.

          • OldDocRoss

            But this isn’t an opinion thing. There’s a right and wrong here. Either players are asked to rank folks based purely on last season, or on last season AND their expectations for the coming season.

            In support of me, we have…..
            – Wikipedia (not flawless)
            – The fact the list is called “The Top 100 Players of 2014″, and most players haven’t played a competitive down in 2014 (fairly compelling)

            In support of ye we have…..
            ?

      • Andy124

        That would appear to be accurate. per wikipedia

        The rankings are based on an off-season poll organized by the NFL, whereby players vote on their peers based on the performance of the previous season and their belief of how the player will perform in the coming season.

      • paul from nc

        That was my take on it, but I think we’re in the minority.
        How dare somebody criticize Nick?

        • OldDocRoss

          Bizarrely:
          1. It’s not our take so much as it appears to be “fact”
          2. People continue to say the same wrong thing even after it has been explained the wrong thing is wrong.
          3. Saying you need to see more of Foles to be absolutely sure of him is the very faintest of criticism. If it’s criticism at all.

          It is of course not even a little surprising that of all the people who called Rosenthal a moron* because they wrongly thought the list was based on 2013 only, not a single sausage has offered even the vaguest hint of a mea culpa.

          *I’m perfectly open to the idea Rosenthal may be a moron, but the reasons people are giving here have been……moronic?

          • paul from nc

            I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me or criticizing.
            My post was agreeing with yours. The “how dare….” was sarcasm.

          • OldDocRoss

            Sorry, was agreeing with you, bemused by others.

    • jon h

      apparently comprehension is no longer a prerequisit of becoming a reporter.

    • John E. Zang

      People will always hate on Foles because he plays for Philly and he’s not flashy like a Kaep or RG3. I even hear people on NFL network discrediting his incredible game against Oakland pretty much saying they were terrible. Why didn’t everyone put up those numbers then if it’s so easy? Still an Nfl defense that had everything to play for at that time. And Foles was still learning, not like Manning or Brady put that up on them. Come to think of it, it was that Silver butthead that said it. He has no business writing or commenting on sports yet there he is on national TV.

  • Maggie

    Everybody whining about the rankings on the Top 100 seems to forget 2 things. Voting as done by the players themselves, which means there are still favorites or personal dislikes at play. Second, why do people like Rosenthal forget that these rankings are for ONE SEASON! 2013! NOT for a body of work. ONE YEAR!

    • Classick6

      I completely agree! By their logic a rookie should never make the list (Which Foles basically was). Idiots!

  • cliff henny

    Eagles locked up Barbre for 3 more years, thru ’17. seems like a solid backup @ G/T, still hope he has enough to push Herremanns

    • OldDocRoss

      Any news on money? Pleasantly surprised to hear that. Think he could start for a few teams in the league.

      • cliff henny

        not that I’ve seen. he’s making 730k in ’13 and it was an extension, so ’13 wasn’t torn up. so, my guess is he might be seeing 1m/per in the extension. sure Howie slid an Eagles friendly contract with ’15 giving him extra guaranteed

        • OldDocRoss

          That would be tremendous. I wonder if he’s been told he’ll be given a shot to start this year or next. He’s not got many miles on the clock and is only a few months older than Mathis was when he signed here and he’s still going strong. Real solid move to lock him up in any event IMO.

          • cliff henny

            ODR, he got 1.25m per yr, got 600k bonus to be spread out over 4yrs. so, 1.4m against cap…was pretty close.

    • Andy124
  • MattE

    is anyone else excited for Boykin to shut down DeSean?

  • myeaglescantwin

    How is Nick Foles over ranked at #70??

    what a load of malarky.
    it’s the best players of 2013.. You may or may not know he set the record for TD/INT ratio during that year.

    save the longevity and total career notes for when you’re looking at HOF voting.
    This countdown is made for one year wonders.

    • John E. Zang

      EXACTLY. People were willing to put Kaepernick in the HOF for half a seasons work but Foles has to prove himself for multiple years for people to not think he’s a “fluke”. I don’t know what they’re not seeing. Oh that’s right he wasn’t a top draft pick and he was never really talked about coming out of college so that must mean he can’t ever overcome the exact science that is NFL scouting. Yet people still are willing to defend Tony Romo as an elite quarterback.

  • southy

    I think what our friend Greg(g) is missing is that if Foles had arrived and we all KNEW Foles would be putting up 27/2 type numbers year in and out, he’d be in top-10 territory, not number 70.

  • paul from nc

    Boy is Rosenthal in for a tough time. Doesn’t he realize that St Nick is the #1 QB of all time. Just read the comments on here and Philly.com.

  • Kev_H

    I saw Rosenthal’s piece when it came out. He said Carson Palmer with his 3 turnovers outplayed Foles in the Arizona game. I don’t think Palmer ‘s grandma agrees with that.

  • Scott J

    Has anyone told Sanchez he’s a backup?

    • IAteLunchToday

      Maybe Rowie Hoseman told him he’s starting…

    • EagleDuck

      Oh, I’ve told him. I’m screamed it many times at the TV. He just won’t listen to me…

  • Ben

    I can’t wait for Foles to start lighting up scoreboards. This year is going to be even better now that the players know what’s going on.
    Last year they were learning on the fly, this year were gonna be scary.

  • John E. Zang

    People just love to hate on Foles because he just shuts up and plays and there’s nothing fancy about him like Kaepernick or Detroits stat/interception machine. Part of it has to do with the fact that the media hates Philly and are jealous or what’s going on here with Chip. I hope he destroys the record books this year.

    • John E. Zang

      I for one can’t stand Kaepernick. His style of play will only get you so far. Especially if that defense loses a step. How can anyone like that kid? Did we forget that report already about him and his brahs trying to get nasty with his ex with the help of making her pass out? It’s insane the amount of rape accusations to convictions in the sports world. They just assume that because they’re rich and famous the girl just has to be plotting to get his money/ruin him. If Darren Sharper gets away clean we have proof right there that it’s damn near impossible to convict a famous athlete. I’m done ranting now.

      • Maggie

        You are so right. There are even folks on these boards who think a little rape or brutality is quite acceptable as long as the guy can BALL!

  • tomw

    So saying Foles was the 70th best player last year was premature? Is there another 2013 season he has not played yet? Am I missing something here?

  • Kleptolia

    None of this means anything, even what we’ve seen in OTAs.
    The news reports what it sees right now. The future is always fluid. Depth charts are formed after the pads come on.
    As for Foles, he was terrific last year. I knew he was good, having seen him play in the PAC 12, but I had no idea how well he would take to the spread offense.
    Who cares about player rankings anyway?
    Nick Foles is a great QB. That’s how I rank him.
    This year is his “prove it” year.

    • EagleDuck

      Hey Brother…

      • kleptolia

        Hey. Where’s Lucille 2?