What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

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

Jim Johnson is in the inaugural class of “The Paul ‘Dr. Z’ Zimmerman Award” for lifetime achievement for NFL assistant coaches, Peter King of TheMMQB.com writes:

He brought pressure with the best defensive coaches in recent history. Over his last nine years as Philadelphia defensive coordinator, his Eagles were second in the league with 390 sacks—yet only two of his pass-rushers (Hugh Douglas and Trent Cole) went to a Pro Bowl. Said one of his protégés, former Eagles assistant John Harbaugh, when Johnson died: “He saw potential and developed it. He made me believe I could coach at this level. In football, he was a pioneering and brilliant strategist, changing the way defense is played in the NFL.”

Don Banks of SI.com on why Darren Sproles is the perfect fit in Philadelphia:

But as I survey the mid-June NFL landscape, the offseason addition that comes as close to can’t-miss as any is the Eagles’ savvy acquisition of running back/return man Darren Sproles, the proven and productive chains-moving threat who came via trade with New Orleans for the bargain price of a fifth-round pick.

Matt Bowen of BleacherReport.com on what makes the Eagles so difficult to prepare defensively for:

We can look at Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Trestman’s playbook in Chicago, the Green Bay Packers, Saints or New England Patriots when discussing some of the top offenses in the NFL right now from a scheme perspective.

But I do believe Kelly’s system should be in the discussion because of the multiple looks (and personnel) that cause stress to opposing defenses when they set their game plans.

And if I’m a defensive coordinator preparing to play the Eagles, it’s going to be a long week of work to get my players ready to identify specific concepts while playing through the “read” schemes and matching up to the tight end position.

Zach Ertz is the Eagle most likely to break out, says Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com:

He enters his second NFL season as one of the receiving targets expected to fill the void created by wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s surprising offseason release. After a slow start, Ertz logged 22 of his 36 catches in the second half of last season and caught a touchdown pass in Philadelphia’s playoff loss to New Orleans.

Greg Gabriel of NationalFootballPost.com on whether the Eagles will repeat as NFC East champs:

With another off-season to learn and practice the offense, Foles should be even better in 2014. While it will be difficult to have another year with only two interceptions, Foles’ understanding of the offense should lead to more big plays.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com writes Philadelphia proves power running isn’t necessarily better than spread-it-out running:

Of their total rushing yards — 2,566 yards — 1,844 of it came with either three or four receivers on the field. That’s air running, which I believe is the way to go. Spread a team out, create cracks and creases, and let a player like LeSean McCoy feast on the ability to make one man miss for big gains. McCoy led the NFL in rushing last year, but even more impressive is that he averaged nearly a yard per carry more than a back from a power-run team in Lynch.

Jordan Matthews is opening eyes in OTAs, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com notes:

After a few weeks of offseason practices, it appears the Eagles got a steal when the rest of the league allowed the SEC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards to fall into Kelly’s lap.

One Eagles fan isn’t happy about Chris Christie’s allegiance to the Cowboys, John Schoonejongen of the Asbury Park Press relays:

Calling Christie’s reasoning for becoming a Cowboys fan weak, John then ramped up his criticism.

“We can’t have somebody running the country like that,” he said.

“Oh, really,” Christie said.

“Yes!” said John.

“Come on, Roger Staubach,” Christie replied.

John then implied that Christie was merely a front-runner, interested in whoever could win.

“This is weak,” John told Christie. “I thought you were strong.”

LeSean McCoy will be the best player in fantasy football this year, says Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com:

Centerpiece of NFL’s top rushing attack. 26 in July.

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  • zbone95

    “He wasn’t a steal, if he was so good why didn’t they select him in the first?” – damn i watch to many CK press conferences…

    • Honest_T

      Because there were more good WR on the board than OLBs.

  • PaoliBulldog

    I would think that running in a spread-out alignment reduces wear & tear on the RB also.

    • macadood

      less big bods and piles

    • Running behind Jason Peters and Evan Mathis always helps too!

      • PaoliBulldog

        Those guys can get downfield and block the smaller guys too.

        • @PaoliBulldog:disqus Funny that people forget Peters was signed as an undrafted TE by the Bills. Man has he come a LONG way.

    • peteike

      loved that Prisco quote, I think the days of the power back are fading a bit with spread O. 1 more yard per, gotta love it

  • I still remember Vick’s quote on Ertz last year: There are three players that I told that they would be great players in this league: I always told Alge Crumpler that he was going to be great, I always told Shady McCoy that he was going to be a great player in this league, and I always told Roddy White. And now I’m saying Zach Ertz.-Mike Vick

    • JofreyRice

      Ertz has been getting hyped since day 1. Every week was the week he was going to break out. I really hope he delivers on it this year.

      • cliff henny

        I don’t know, think he’s the one guy that almost guaranteed if healthy. TE is pretty hard position to learn, had that tri-mester bs, and Celek drinking from fountain of youth and still put up great rookie numbers after couple early season drops.

        • JofreyRice

          I gotcha, I know Kempksi ran that stat thing where he basically said Ertz is better than Tony Gonzalez, but I want to see him put up more than 75 yards in a game before I jump on the hype train. There is a laundry list of guys that are pegging Ertz to breakout. Wanna see something major on the field.

          • anon

            we have too many weapons to have good fantasy stars. mccoy might have numbers similar to last year but i don’t trust the receivers

          • Always Hopeful

            Yup, spreadin’ the wealth.

          • JofreyRice

            i guess I kind of muddled my point by referencing the yardage. I should have said I want to see him make some big, impressive plays before I board the hype train. The #’s themselves are good, when compared to other rookie TEs–although, they’re not exaclty eye-popping.

            More directly than racking up #’s, I want Ertz to make a couple plays that make me jump out of my seat.

          • Joe from Easton

            Foles for Fantasy.

          • DetmerWonAHeisman

            He’s on my team as a keeper. I drafted Vick and Foles as his back up last year….

          • cliff henny

            think he passes the eye test. you know me, I’m not a huge stat guy cause numbers lie.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, the eye test is kind of what I’m talking about. The way he plays doesn’t really excite me. It’s really more than a numbers thing. Honestly the numbers kind of say he’s an up and comer. I hope that’s true, but his yards/catches and plays looked very pedestrian. Nothing jaw-dropping in terms of using his size to make catches, not many tackles broken/dragging guys for yards, like we saw with early Brent Celek.

          • jpate

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s6oWYZ4EWk 2:20 mark.

            Great catch but looking back he was a great down-field target for a tight end.

          • JofreyRice

            that was a nice catch. The rest…for a highlight film? meh. Gets tackled one on one by much smaller guys a lot, or just falls down. I was more excited watching Foles read and deliver in those highlights.

          • DetmerWonAHeisman

            Thanks for that…….I found myself really appreciating what great throws Foles made on those plays as well……how many times in our past did we see a receiver make a great diving play, but only because McNabb made a bad pass and the receiver had to go get it instead of catching it in stride….

          • travis papa

            More or less if he has a 50 rec for 600 yds & 7tds I’ll consider that a huge season. Would you jump on the bandwagon for that?

          • Adam

            Rookie TEs historically dont have seasons or games like that. Difficult position to transition to the NFL. But his rookie stat line was better than a lot of top TEs rookie seasons, and was tops amongst rookies in many important categories (YPR, total yards and TDs). It looks encouraging.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, really more about stats. I agree with you, the stats are solid. I just didn’t see a lot of dynamic plays, where I went “wow!”. Like he’d go across the middle for a little drag route and gain 10 yards. Ok. That’s important, but seemed more a function of so many options for the D to defend, and good decisions by Foles.

            A lofty comparison I have heard for Ertz is Jason Witten. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even see a hint of that kind of thing, like “I’m making plays, and you know it’s coming, but you can’t stop it”, in the way Witten did it for the Cowboys so frustratingly for years. I know he’s a rook, and all that, what I’m saying is I really didn’t see a “flash” of it. I mentioned to Cliff below, but I remember when Celek was unseating LJ Smith as the starting TE in ’08, and he went in against the..Seahawks(?) he was breaking tackles, hauling guys with him down the field. That kind of “wow” moment is what I’m talking about, where you go, “when can we see this guy on the field full-time?”. I know I’m in the minority here, but I just haven’t felt that way about Ertz yet.

          • Adam

            Did Jason Witten have any of those moments as rookie? I don’t recall. Celek’s rookie season was quiet too. They both came on strong in year two. Ertz had some really nice plays last year, some nice one handed grabs against Arizona and I think maybe Oakland. I don’t see the Witten comparison, but to say he had no wow moments last year isn’t something I can agree with. This offence is design to create mismatches and for Foles to identify those and throw that way, so there wasn’t a ton of chances to make contested catches but he made some nice plays.

            Considering the difficulty of making the leap to the NFL as a TE, the added time in the offernse (don’t forget he missed OTAs), better conditioning and the relatively good stats he put up I don’t see why it’s a stretch to say Ertz will have a break out year.

          • JofreyRice

            Those are all fair points.

          • Bdawkbdawk

            I hate that Kempski’s article gets this much play. I mean, I love Kempski, but that article was crap. Sure, Ertz’s rookie production was better than several great TE’s rookie production, but that is only half the picture. If Kempski had looked up the set of TEs who outperformed the greats’ rookie production, he would have found that there are several average to poor TE’s who also accomplished the same feat. The takeaway should really be that rookie TE stats are not a great indicator of future success.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, I’m not a huge Kempski fan, in general. He gets kudos for his analysis of the WR situation, and what it could mean for Jackson, but that’s about the best I can say for him. I remember the horrible projection he did before the 2010 season on Kevin Kolb based on 10 passes from 2009. It was just pure hot garbage.

        • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

          IDK of Celek found the fountain, so much as he finally had a competent and healthy offensive line. One that didn’t require him to stay and help out on protection all year long

      • Sconces

        He dominated vs Arizona and was great in Minnesota

      • You also have to remember that Avant/D-Jax are gone and there should be more production from Ertz in the slot and over the middle. I totally see something in Ertz, but I’ll give him a pass as a rookie and learning the system. One thing he has to improve on is his blocking so he doesn’t lose snaps to Casey.

  • Max Lightfoot

    Christie – feh – makes me glad I moved to New Mexico. He’d fit in (but not without a shoehorn and some goose grease) with the rest of the ‘allas maroons out here in the Land of Enchantment.

    But I agree with Matt Bowen that Chip’s penchant for offensive versatility in his players is going to baffle the snot outta defenses, if not revolutionize the league. One more good draft and we are gonna create some real damage – Go Eags!!

  • Addicted2MAmula


  • Tom w

    Great another dopey national writer basing too much on otas … Glorified walkthroughs … Anointing Matthews the second coming ….. Where were all these geniuses back in April when chip got lambasted for taking Marcus before the run on olbs and trading up for Matthews in a wr heavy draft when several wrs were still available. How quickly the opinions change like the wind blows ….. Marcus, Matthews, huff hart Watkins …. All high character high floor intelligent leaders and captains … Not suprised Mathews is hitting ground running. But again it’s just otas. Na brown and Reggie brown looked good every year in otas and every yr they were awful when the games started

    • cliff henny

      Do NOT compare the Pope to Na Brown! haven’t heard that name in awhile. man, was he shoved down our throat for about 4 straight springs

      • Always Hopeful

        Not too much hope for Na, but I KNEW Reggie Brown was going to be a pro-bowler…

      • southy

        Na na NA NA, Na na NA NA, hey hey heyyyyy, Na Brooooown

  • cliff henny

    ATL lost Weatherspoon to ACL. know it’s not D-End, but who knows, maybe trickle down effect and they want Graham.

    • willissez

      NFL live said they drafted 4 lbs, though I did not confirm this and they only mentioned one by name. Either way, what would you want to get from them for him?

      • IG:blkboyflyy

        They did one person to look out for on their roster is Prince Shembo he’s gonna be nasty for them he should take weatherspoons

    • PaoliBulldog

      Spoon tore his Achilles, not his ACL, I think.

      While jogging with the medical staff. WTF? If you tear a tendon running with your trainer, doesn’t that suggest you shouldn’t have been running at all?

      That’s like getting busted for shoplifting while jogging with your attorney.

    • JosephR2225

      Weatherspoon, Sean Lee, Daryl Washington, NaVorro Bowman… Curse of the MLB class of 2010. (And don’t worry. The Eagles only drafted Keenan Clayton and Jamar Chaney at LB in 2010. First time that fact has ever been good news.)

  • PhillySean

    RE: Pete Prisco’s Air Running vs Power Running
    I would love to see Sheil or Tim compare Chip Kelly’s style to that of Sid Gillman.

    • DoctorRick

      Awesome Both are Basic Football. Just adapted to the circumstances at the time.
      If my back weren’t killing me and if I were more mobile I would pull down my copy of “Blood, Sweat and Chalk” and look at the lineage.

  • Malone

    What’s up Eagles Nation? I love the articles on here. I’m looking forward to chatting with my fellow Eagles junkies.

    • Joe from Easton

      My name is Joe and I’m an Eagle-holic.

      • Malone

        Hahaha hey! Will you be my sponsor? Lol

        • DoctorRick

          We can all sponsor each other. That’s a hoot.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Don’t mind Joe. Joining this group was part of his 12 step program…lol. J/k

      • Joe from Easton

        The first step is admitting you have a problem and that’s what I’m here for… eh… maybe I’m exacerbating my problem. Oh well, f%ck it, what do those damned head doctors know anyhow?!

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Calm down kimosahbe! You don’t want a relapse…lol.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      What’s up brother. Welcome to the neighborhood! No sponsors needed here.

    • DoctorRick

      Welcome to the “Birds 24/7 Flu” disease. We all have it, we complain a lot, but a side effect is that we are happy a lot.

  • ICDogg

    That Bleacher Report article surprised me because I didn’t realize they ever had anything worth reading. But that was excellent.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Yeah I posted a link to it yesterday on here. Sheil retweeted it on Twitter and I read it and had to post a link. Surprisingly good stuff for BP.

  • bobloblawslawblog

    Chris Christie has bigger problems than what NFL team he supports. Although there really isn’t any excuse for him not being a Giants fan, you can’t get more Jersey than that. (Jets are more working-class Queens-Long Island)

  • Jerry Pomroy

    It’s interesting how the national perspective has changed towards Chip Kelly and his system. Last year it was his system will not work in NFL. Now it’s will the opposition be able to keep pace and counter and how many teams will be stealing some ideas.

    • anon

      Like anyone else it’s only real once it’s worked. Agree that year 2 is going to be way different. People have tape, people are stealing concepts (see Miami). But CK is like Greg Pop with the Spurs, same system for 20 years, it works we just gotta trust it.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Well the one thing that was soooo refreshing was the fact that Chip is willing to tweak & adjust in game to what he’s seeing on the field. The “system” will be the same at its core. The execution just changes. That alone compared to 14yrs of watching AR force the same thing over and over and over, almost as if he was trying to prove the definition of inanity being wrong. I loved the guy but damn it got real frustrating at times. I trust Chip. I just feel that blind faith may take more than 1yr of success.

        • anon

          x50. That’s why i think we’ll be good for years. We had like 3 different offenses last year. I can’t wait for the season – those 16 weeks go by so fast.

  • DoctorRick

    Josh leads off this article with a home run on Jim Johnson. I had forgotten that story line and how he soldiered on until the end. Thanks for the reminder, Josh.
    And here’s to Jim Johnson and all the others who have the values and persistence to continue to lead lives of integrity in such adverse circumstances. Makes it look easy for those of us in less challenging circumstances to do the same.

  • TNA

    ESPN is running a story on Joe Moglia. He seems to have hints of Chip Kelly in him. One commonality is the number of reps he gets off in practice. Gladwell has popularized the phrase that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice at a certain task to become an expert. Perhaps it’s 10,000 reps CK is shooting for theoretically. And the task of his sports science program is to help ensure that the players are in as peak physical condition as possible during those reps.

  • when i was a kid i had a aikman jersey. i was just more a fan of the winning teams. every time i see pictures of me with that aikman jersey on i feel ashamed and i want to punch my self in the face. i remember i would say, dad why do you like the eagles they suck. though my childhood was spent in bethlehem, pa i never really put the two together. it wasnt till i was about 18 years old that i realized having a team to root for constantly and to not keep jumping bandwagons made watching football so much more better and interesting. btw i also had a steelers jersey. i look back on that time now and i just dont see how i ignored the birds so damn much because now i cant imagine my self rooting for any other team. i guess my dad let me root for whoever i wanted as i kid. i decided though when i have kids they have no choice in the matter. so that way when they get older they dont have to see pictures of themselves in a cowboy jersey and want to kick their own asses just like i did the other day when i found that old pic. thanks have a great day.

    • Maggie

      Mostly agree, however, there is no shame in a Steelers jersey, cross-state rivalry or not. To millions of people it’s all Pennsylvania. In the 70’s I watched the Steelers and played the ‘sound” of Philadelphia. Still play the music frequently, while watching the Eagles.