Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Albert Breer of NFL.com talks to an NFC scouting director about the Eagles:
“Can Nick Foles repeat his performance, and will the offense be as efficient with (defensive coordinators) having time to adjust? Defensively, can their corners match up? I’m not a big fan of their corner group; they need to get better. And last year was a conversion year, going to the 3-4. Will they make the jump other teams do in Year 2? … Most NFL teams play within the numbers. Chip makes you defend the entire field. He stretches you horizontally and vertically. He pressures you. How will defenses adjust?”
T-Mac linked to this in the Wake-Up Call, but it’s worth including again. Giants safety Antrel Rolle talked to ESPN about the state of the NFC East, via the Washington Post:
“I think if you have the right defensive scheme against the Eagles, you can definitely shut them down,” he said. “I think we displayed that in the second game we played them. As far as Washington, I think Washington has more weapons, and I think they added more weapons, especially to the offensive system. I think RGIII will definitely bounce back and have a better season this year. And defensively, I think they’ve added a lot of veteran leadership to their defense that’s gonna help them out a whole lot.”
Chris Burke of SI.com looks at points scored per offensive snap:
Not surprisingly, the Broncos lapped the field. Seeing the Eagles land at No. 3 in this particular ranking comes as no shock, either.
What occurred between those squads is unexpected, however, with Dallas landing second overall with a .415 points-per-play average. The Cowboys’ landing spot highlights two truths: 1. Generating more snaps may not be necessary to produce points — they ran just 957 offensive plays last season, least of any team in the league; 2. That scoring at an efficient rate matters little if a team’s defense cannot keep up.
Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN.com writes about Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and recalls Andy Reid's decisions on that side of the ball with the Eagles:
When Johnson resigned in May 2009 (and died soon after), Reid turned the defense over to Sean McDermott and later Juan Castillo, with the numbers declining drastically (the Eagles finished lower than 20th in scoring defense three out of Reid's last four years in Philadelphia). The Castillo era was especially disastrous, since Reid gave the job to a man who had been an offensive assistant for the previous 16 years; he ultimately fired him midway through the 2012 season.
What we learned about Reid late in his Eagles tenure was that he leaned heavily on Johnson's savvy and wisdom. The head coach, like many brilliant offensive minds, gave his defensive coordinator the autonomy to do as he saw fit with that unit. That's a great luxury when a coach has one of the best coordinators in football. It's a different story when that same coach is putting his trust in a man who is still settling into the job, as Reid discovered with Castillo.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is showing Dolphins players film of the Eagles, according to The Miami Herald:
Not only do Dolphins players say their new offense reminds them of Chip Kelly’s offense with the Eagles --- where new coordinator Bill Lazor worked last season --- but Lazor has been using video of theEagles offense as a teaching tool, according to receiver Rishard Matthews. There are some differences between the offenses.
"Last year, it was one-dimensional a little bit,” Matthews said of Mike Sherman’s approach. “This year, everybody loves the offense.”
ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr. has his top-five prospects list out for 2015. One name you're sure to hear connected to the Eagles next spring is Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Ekpre-Olomu is Kiper's top-rated senior CB:
I think he would have been one of the first two corners taken in the 2014 draft had he come out. Ekpre-Olomu doesn't have elite size -- he's roughly 5-foot-10 and about 195 pounds -- but he makes up for it on tape, showing great instincts in coverage. He brings a physical nature when the play is in front of him, perhaps owing to his high school days as a two-way player who also starred at running back. Assuming he stays healthy, he's a first-round talent.
Evan Silva of Rotoworld looks at reasons for optimism and skepticism for Zach Ertz in his second season. Here is the latter:
Ertz is a role player in a spread-the-wealth Eagles offense that has even more mouths to feed than last year's unit. Kelly has a tendency to play matchups at tight end, utilizing Brent Celek more when Philly faces teams it believes are deficient in run defense, and sprinkling in Ertz when the Eagles want to beat opponents with the pass. Those consistency issues could continue to make Ertz difficult to project on a week-by-week basis. Ertz has been a poor blocker dating back to his Stanford days. Blocking can impact playing time, especially on a run-heavy team. Ertz is a good athlete, but not quite a great one. His 2013 Combine forty time (4.76) would've ranked sixth among tight ends at this year's event, and his 9-foot-3 broad jump would've placed a lowly 16th. Ertz jumped 30 1/2" vertically, a decidedly mediocre mark.