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:
Soooo guess somebody said we were gonna finish third in our division um ok…back to my Friday morning. Have a great day twitter fam! Lol
— Jeremy Maclin (@jmac_18) June 20, 2014