Weekend Reading: Eagles Set To Slip?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Some links to pass along this weekend…

Ashley Fox of ESPN.com likes the Eagles’ addition of Darren Sproles:

He is one of the smallest players you will see on an NFL roster, but he is wickedly fast and a multidimensional player whom Kelly will use to stretch the field, create mismatches and force the tempo. Sproles can run between the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield and line up in the slot. He can pass protect, and he can be a decoy in a two-back set when McCoy gets the ball.

Sproles doesn’t make up for the fact that Jackson, who caught 82 passes last season for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns, is now in Washington, but he should help because he gives opposing defenses one more thing to worry about.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com names 11 unstoppable players, including LeSean McCoy:

McCoy has great feet and quickness and is very shifty and elusive, as evidenced by his ability to induce 53 missed tackles — the most among running backs — last season. He has excellent vision, and Chip Kelly’s system is the perfect fit for his talents. Based on his 2013 campaign, in which he gained 2,146 total yards (1,607 rushing, 539 receiving) and scored 11 total touchdowns, McCoy belongs firmly in the discussion about the most unstoppable backs in the NFL.

Brandt also identifies six teams who could slip in 2014. The Eagles make the list, even though he still thinks they make the postseason:

Can Nick Foles have another season like he did in 2013, when he threw 27 touchdowns passes and just two interceptions? Unfortunately, I think the laws of gravity are against the young signal-caller, who will, of course, be without playmaking receiver DeSean Jackson. What will Philly’s much-lauded offense be able to accomplish without Jackson, who was released in March, in the fold? I think you’ll see opposing defenses stopping this vaunted attack much more effectively than they did last season.

FoxSports.com has Zach Ertz as one of 10 potential breakout players for 2014:

There are weapons all over the field in Philadelphia. Ertz presents a big target, standing 6-5 and possessing soft hands and a nose for the football. His play picked up over the last half of 2013, as he caught 22 of his 36 passes and all four of his TD grabs in the final eight games of the season. Ertz has made improving his blocking a priority and we expect to see head coach Chip Kelly line the big tight end in several different spots in 2014. He presents a matchup nightmare for defenses and should continue to grow into a major contributor for the Eagles.

A lot of lists this time of year. Elliot Harrison of NFL.com names the top-20 players from the 80s. He’s got Reggie White at No. 18:

If he had played more than five years in the ’80s, or if the Eagles had enjoyed more success with him, he would be ranked much higher. Still, 81 sacks in five years?!

And finally, Jeremy Maclin seemed to take note of what Giants safety Antrel Rolle had to say earlier this week:

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  • Bullwinkle

    Not sure it is fair to downgrade a player like Reggie White because he played on bad teams. He was one of 22 players. He could not do it all himself. He was the best defensive lineman ever when he was in his prime.

    • Andy124

      Agreed, but I guess playing only half the decade was a bigger factor. Still, he should be #1 in any decade. Hell, he’s #1 this decade.

      • NickS1

        ^ This.

      • Hurricane

        Absolutely. Had this debate the other day with a friend..broke my heart to place him #2 in the greatest defensive players Ive ever watched. But I had to give it up to LT. My list, still in progress 1) LT, 2) Reggie, 3) Deion, 4) Derrick Thomas, 5) Lott???

        Dont think i’ll budge on 1 thru 3 tho.

        My genius friend wanted to argue Ray Lewis at #1…(turns head…Fire Marshall Bill laugh)

        • EaglefaninAZ

          Upvote for the “Living Color” reference.

        • NickS1

          Can’t really disagree with 1-3. I’d have no trouble placing Ray in for either and shuffling a little at 4 & 5. Since it’s limited to players I’ve watched (80’s on up), I’d like to offer up Rod Woodson for consideration as well.

        • Rick H

          Sorry but Ray Lewis should be in jail for 13 years now without parole for the rest of his life! I value human beings life greatly. He was deeply involved and likely should have been convicted for murder. He is a complete liar!!!

          • Reese Ceo Runninish

            What does that have to do with his on field production?

          • Rick H

            Everything!!! Besides being a lying low life thug and alleged most likely murderer, he would have & should have been put in prison for the last 11 years of his career. He should be sitting next to Ray Carruth and soon to be Hernandez. So if you take 11 years from this thug’s football life he would be #543765 in an orange jumpsuit. A real special guy in the worst possible way!

        • UKEagle99

          In addition to the above I also enjoyed watching Bruce Smith and Mike Singletary. My favourite all time defense though is the ’91 Eagles by a country mile.

        • Andy124

          Eagles Bias:
          You’re doing it wrong.

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    Define – Foles falling back to Earth? The kids gonna finish with 35-45 tds, and 8-14 picks. And I put the high end of the interception scale at 14 just to be nice to the doubters. I honestly don’t see him reaching double digits. By any metric, that’s a great season. What evidence is there for these clowns to consistently predict he can’t maintain his success? We exchanged #10, Avant, &Bryce, for The Pope, Huff, and D.Sproles. Instead of focusing on what Desean beings to the table, that we’ll miss, let’s talk about what Matthews brings to the table that Desean couldn’t. Size, strength, and more than enough big play ability to change games. Defenses are going to have NIGHTMARES trying to stop all the facets of this offense. It starts with McCoy, but where it ends is anyone’s guess. You’ll have 5 assassins on the field, all with the intention and ability to stress the defense until it breaks. This league is in for a surprise. They’re not giving Foles credit for his work ethic and intelligence. 27-2 was an infantile demonstration of his command of this system. By seasons end, Nicky’s gonna be on some boss ish, making MFers eat crow.

    • JosephR2225

      Entirely possible he has a worse TD/INT ratio but actually plays the position better. As good as his stats were last season, I think everyone will admit he left some big plays on the field.

      And I agree about Desean. My pet peeve is these national writers talking about how the Eagles “lost” Desean. They didn’t “lose” him, they cut him. They made the judgment that they were better off without him on the team. Maybe the difference is semantic, but I think they wouldn’t have cut him unless they had a pretty damn good idea what they were going to do to replace him.

      • Charliefoxtrot

        You know that’s a great goddamn point on losing vs cutting jaccpot.
        As if Chip is retarded, and doesn’t understand pros and cons of the decision. Loved jaccpot at the meadowlands, but taking an entire season off like he did in ’11, makes me still pissed off.

        • AlexisKerryfyg

          just before I saw the bank
          draft for $8962 , I have faith that my sister was actualie bringing in money in
          their spare time on their apple labtop. . there great aunt had bean doing this
          for under 18 months and at present repaid the morgage on their cottage and
          bought a great new Aston Martin DB5 . this page R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

      • Chip Kelly

        Unfortunately, it’s not just the national writers. It’s a lot of the local writers and reporters as well. The majority of them say there is no way the Eagles’ offense will be better off without Desean. These people just look at the statistics on the surface. No one in the media has the balls to predict the Eagles offense will be better.

    • Kev_H

      As far as the Eagles slipping, I don’t see how Foles plays a role in that. He only took 317 of the team’s 508 passing attempts in 2013. If you assume he stays healthy, having him out there for 16 games should make them better.

    • Chip Kelly

      Perfectly stated. Bravo. People are really underestimating this football team. Definitely the top the offense this year in the NFC. It’s either us or Peyton’s team for the NFL’s top offense. It’s going to be exciting. Especially if the improve and probably will.

      • EaglefaninAZ

        College offense. Lol…

  • Reasonableeaglefan

    I like Mac’s response. It’s like, I see you, but you aren’t worthy of getting my hands dirty.

  • Charliefoxtrot

    The Eagles are “set to slip”

    …..it in, dry, to the rest of the division.

    • NickS1

      It’s a shame that you can only like posts one time.

      • EaglefaninAZ

        I seriously see a division sweep being a real possibility. I’m calling it. Harsh me later if I’m wrong, but sheesh… everyone else just seems second tier at this point.

        • NickS1

          I don’t think it’ll be worse than 4-2. Likely 5-1. Hoping for 6-0.

    • Joe from Easton

      “dry” – hahahaha

  • Addicted2MAmula
  • Max Lightfoot

    National sports writers travel in packs. They do not have the time for more than a cursory glance at teams like the Eagles, so they adopt a “Me too!” take on the upcoming season. They depend on someone else to give them their opinion.

    For example, one of them writes “The Eagles will regress without DeSean Jackson” or “Their defense will derail because they failed to get Jairus Byrd” so they start chiming in “Me too!” That way, they don’t stick their necks out and possibly appear foolish later on.

    But the reality is, they will be fools and tools later on.

    I can’t wait for the crazy-ass mismatches and scissor patterns created by Ertz, Sproles and Matthews and others. This (if they stay healthy) is gonna be a fun season. Go Eags!

  • Addicted2MAmula
  • Chippah

    How is what Brandt says any different than what talking heads said last year? How are people not getting it? Chip Kelly never hid what he does. He just practices and prepares his players so well on the same play that they can execute one option or the other against whatever the defense throws at them. It’s Vince Lombardi with a little more nuance. Remember what Madden said about Lombardi in a football life? He thought he knew football and then he went to a seminar by Lombardi on the power sweep. Lombardi diagramed and talked about the same play for 8 hours! Madden walked out saying he realized he was a football neophyte. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Chip Kelly. So what are they going to do different? Not only that the offensive players are another year more familiar. And on top of all that have they forgotten the players saying Chip doesn’t care if they figure out one thing because he’s continuously tweaking and improving so defense will never catch him? Chips going to win us Super Bowl’SSS!

    • Charliefoxtrot

      Preach on brotha!

  • Frank

    Eagles will EASILY win the NFC East Championship again. Foles will be even better and McCoy, Sproles, Maclin, Matthews, Ertz and Celek will be the #1 offense in the NFL.

  • myeaglescantwin

    a lot of pieces fell our way last season.

    One of the easiest schedules in the league.
    Played Mike Glennon early in the year.
    Got Calvin Johnson in the snow-bowl.
    Eli falling apart
    We didn’t have to play AP.
    We didn’t have to play Rodgers.
    Romo was out that last game.
    Shannahan was a clown
    no one had tape of Chip or our D.

    10-6 may have been a fluke,
    But i’m trusting Chipper.