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.