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.
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.