What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Here’s this week’s roundup of national media coverage.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com zeroes in on Zach Ertz as a potential “making the leap” candidate:

Watching all of Ertz’s targets, I left impressed with his ability to puncture coverage and give his quarterback a window to throw to. He doesn’t possess blazing speed, but Ertz is a physical after-the-catch receiver with the ability to punish smaller cover men.


He's certainly helped by playing in an offense that wears down opponents with tempo, but Ertz helps the Eagles with his ability to high-point receptions and win battles in coverage. While watching his rookie tape, I couldn't help but think: He's just getting started.

Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com identifies what remains to be learned about every NFL team. On the Eagles:

How will the Eagles replace star wide receiver DeSean Jackson after his shocking offseason release? Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin will start, but the third receiver spot remains up for grabs with veteran Brad Smith and rookie Jordan Matthews the leading candidates. Running back Darren Sproles, acquired in a pre-draft trade with New Orleans, also will be showcased in the passing game. But while the Eagles could collectively match his production, nobody on the roster provides the same kind of deep threat Jackson posed to opposing defenses.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com takes a look at some Oregon prospects to keep an eye on going into next season. One is outside linebacker Tony Washington:

Washington emerged as Oregon's leading pass rusher in 2013, his first season as a full-time starter. He was awarded honorable mention all-conference accolades with 60 tackles, as well as 12 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, each of which led the Ducks.

A versatile defender asked to rush the quarterback from the two-point and three-point stance, well as drop back into coverage, Washington offers an intriguing skill-set certain to draw the attention of scouts throughout the NFL. He possesses broad shoulders and with additional weight added in his lower body could bulk up to play defensive end in the NFL. He is surprisingly balanced and fluid in his transition when in coverage, as well.

Adam Levitan of Rotoworld provides his take on some of the Eagles from a fantasy perspective:

I’m not on Darren Sproles. He’ll be 31 in June, isn’t fast enough to the edge in the run game anymore and won’t see the kind of volume he got in New Orleans. A 6-8 touch per game projection feels right. … I’m also not on Riley Cooper, a jump-ball guy and blocker who fluked his way to 835 yards and eight touchdowns last year thanks to Jackson’s ability to draw safety coverage. … Rookie slot man Jordan Matthews is a fine late-round stash. He’s starred at OTAs/minicamp, drawing comparisons to Terrell Owens. I’d bet on him passing up Cooper for reps in two-wide sets before the season is over, and we can't count on Maclin to sustain health.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News takes a look at Vince Young's legacy:

Young signed with the Eagles in 2011 as a backup to Michael Vick and played poorly in three starts, throwing twice as many interceptions (eight) as touchdowns while rushing for only 77 yards.

Young never played in the NFL again, failing to make it out of training camp with the Buffalo Bills in 2012 and the Packers in 2013, then failing to make it out of the off-season program with the Browns in 2014. Now Young is gone, leaving behind a legacy of unfulfilled talent. What a shame. What a waste.

Danny Kelly of SB Nation says the Eagles have one of the five elite offensive lines in the NFL:

Philly has one of the best left tackle/left guard combinations in the NFL in All-Pros Jason Peters and Evan Mathis, a duo who helped paved the way for NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy in 2013. Of course, center Jason Kelce had an outstanding year as well, Todd Herremans was serviceable at right guard, and Lane Johnson showed promise while taking his rookie lumps after being Chip Kelly's first pick at No. 4.

Statistically, Nick Foles' 7-TD game against the Raiders last year was the best performance of any QB in the league, writes Chase Stuart of Football Perspective:

Let’s start with the top 100 passing games from 2014. The top spot belongs to Philadelphia’s Nick Foles, for his monstrous performance against Oakland. Foles threw for 406 yards and 7 touchdowns on just 28 pass attempts. Even including his one one-yard sack, Foles averaged a whopping 18.79 ANY/A in that game. The league-average last season was 5.86 ANY/A, which means Foles was 12.93 ANY/A above average. Now since the game came against the Raiders, we have to reduce that by -1.29, which was how many ANY/A the Raiders defense was below average. So that puts Foles at +11.64; multiply that by his 29 dropbacks, and he produced 337 adjusted net yards of value above average after adjusting for strength of schedule. That narrowly edges out the other seven-touchdown game of 2013, which came at the hands of Peyton Manning against Baltimore on opening night.

John Clayton of ESPN.com expects the trend of offenses picking up the pace to continue:

Philip Rivers had a great 2013 season while working the Chargers' offense at a quicker pace. More teams this year worked with a faster pace in OTAs and minicamps. The Philadelphia Eagles are still at the forefront when it comes to speed, but more offensive coaches are trying to find ways to run more plays and score more points.

Michael Vick tells ESPN New York that he revolutionized the game:

Michael Vick respects the fast, young quarterbacks in today's NFL, but he considers them Michael Vick impersonators.

"I was the guy who started it all," the New York Jets quarterback told ESPN.com. "I revolutionized the game. I changed the way it was played in the NFL."

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  • Chris

    The “how will Desean be replaced” is getting beaten to death at this point. Can’t wait until the season starts so we can actually see Chip taking care of the offense and putting this to bed.

    In other news, doesn’t Kelce look like the happiest man in the world?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bq5kiVgCMAI-A06.jpg:large

    • Kevin

      I agree Chris. Everyone is referring to single high man coverage with this point, but that is because of Shady, not DJax. The bottom line is that the D can either double cover Cooper or Maclin if they roll to a side, but that means the other one is man to man, which they both should beat. The Double Cover Cooper argument seems to forget that if you do that you single cover other weapons and I am sure Chip will gladly take a double on Cooper every Sunday.

      • sprawl

        Double cover Cooper and hope the linebackers can handle McCoy/Sproles in space with Lane Johnson coming upfield in a hurry…

      • Chris

        agree 100%. Chip has made it no secret that his players need to be able to beat man coverage

      • Tikkit

        Would this photo qualify as “Single high man coverage”?

        • paul from nc

          I don’t know about single high man coverage, but I’ll bet SOMETHING is up high

    • John E. Zang

      Amen! The national media makes it like we let Jerry Rice in his prime go. The league will soon forget about Mesean.

      • dnabrice

        I’m sure he’ll have a great year in DC. He’s looking great from a fantasy perspective…

    • Explorer51

      Jackson was targeted 132 times in last year’s 17 games and the Eagles ran over 1,100 plays; even if you double that target number to take into account his “decoy” value (probably overstating that figure), he wasn’t involved in almost 80% of their offensive output. Can’t imagine his blocking had much effect on those 800+ plays…

      Maybe another hat on hat during the majority of each game will actually be productive?

    • JofreyRice

      It’s going to be an issue until they prove it’s not. They were a big play offense, and got rid of the best big play receiver on the team; one of the best in the league. He changed the way D’s played the Eagles–see Malcolm Jenkins’ thoughts on the subject. If Chip can moneyball his ~1400 yards and all those big plays, and put out an offense just as good if not better, then I’ll join the “Desean who?” crowd. If not, the move should be criticized.

    • Ben

      Which one is Kelce? He really blends in.

    • DirtyWaters

      For some reason that picture makes me think of this:

  • JosephR2225

    Riley Cooper was fluking awesome last year! Adam Levitan can go fluke himself!

    Seriously though, I don’t trust any Eagles WRs from a fantasy perspective, because I think they would rather have six guys with 50 catches each than three guys with 100, but if you watched the Eagles last year you would know that Shady McCoy had much more to do with the man coverage Cooper saw than Desean Jackson did.

    • Chris

      Agree – i’m a big fantasy guy and I can’t see grabbing any eagles WR high. maclin I would happily grab late. It’s shady/foles or late round picks for me. I’d definitely take a late round flier on Matthews as well. The catches/yards/tds have to come from SOMEWHERE but the most likely scenario is that they’ll be spread out

      • Kevin

        Agree 100% from a fantasy perspective. I was lucky enough to grab Shady in last year draft (the first in a one player franchise league) and then Foles as a free agent… So it was a good year. The eagles WRs and TEs will be boom/bust from game to game I have a feeling. They will have decent end of the year stats, but on a weekly basis you may end up pulling your hair out.

        • Chris

          Yea, sort of like Coop last year – a few monster games then he sort of fell back down to earth, then another good game or two, but his EOY stats were pretty nice. Seems like it’ll be that sort of year. Fine by me as long as they’re winning

          • peteike

            Will be interesting to see how high Foles goes in drafts this year.

    • southy

      If you watched the Eagles last year you’d also know that Brad Smith is not leading the running to be the WR3, or the QB[anything] for that matter.

    • paul from nc

      I couldn’t care less about fantasy football. Can they help their real team win?

  • JettMartinez

    I guess Mike Vick has never heard of Randall Cunnigham.

    • Malcolm Jones

      Vick never heard of Cunningham, Steve Young, Elway, Tarkenton….What he did do (especially in 2010) was show a QB with that extra dimension, who could put it all together could be extremely dangerous. Thus, the Kap’s, the wilson’s the Cam’s and etc

      • Joe Thomas

        Them guys are using McNabbs style, use your legs to create throwing lanes, and keep defenses of balance. Vick is a run first guy,

        • John E. Zang

          Yeah Vick was pretty much a joke at QB for most of his career. Running the ball he was deadly. But no one ever took him seriously when he was behind center.

          • peteike

            yup and not sure anyone was close to his speed when he took off. Not sure any other QBs will ever be that fast either, blazing. That however does not a good QB make.

          • SteffGibbonsrae

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          • UKEagle99

            Clearly the work doesn’t involve maths.

    • Andy124

      Yup. Seriously stupid comment by the former backup quarterback in Philly.

      • Tikkit

        Edit: Seriously stupid comment by ANOTHER backup quarterback in Philly.
        See also: Vince Young and currently, “Whiny” Matt Barkley

    • kpm

      Fran Tarkenton?

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    I never knew that mid 2nd rounders counted as late round stashes.

    • Corey Dawson

      They’re talking about fantasy football drafts. not the NFL draft.

      • guest

        Come on Corey…you can’t expect people to read EVERY SINGLE WORD of the article. Its totally acceptable to just skim the articles and then spout off some snarky comment. Totally acceptable

      • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

        I missed that, thanks. I wouldn’t want to take any more bullets from the guest. Sheesh. If he had a name I’d be tempted to throw on the Geagle mask and go to work.

  • ridusofreid

    Mike Vick is a great athlete with a great arm. Relatively inaccurate poor decision maker whose career will end as a serviceable back up. He’s not a disappointment. Just depends what you were expecting.

    • dnabrice

      He threw lasers. Only issue with lasers is they have to be extremely accurate to work.

  • Bullwinkle

    The Eagles will replace DeSean’s production by relentlessly marching up and down the field, accumulating many first downs, taking time off the clock and fully exhausting the opponents D in the process. They have the studs to dominate on offense and do not need bombs to DJax to succeed.

  • Maggie

    I don’t get the whole so-called reporters’ endless “replace” Jaccson. Nobody is going to “replace” Jaccson. The offensive schemes will simply be changed slightly to fit other players’ talents and abilities. Just like sports teams do whenever a player leaves and other players come in. It’s as foolish as saying Foles “replaced” Vick. No he did not. They are completely different and the coaches plan accordingly. Each newcomer has his own “place”.

    • Kev_H

      From reading the “experts” I think they have to play down a man on offense since they let Jackson go.

    • EaglesFanInPhx

      Replaced is a perfectly acceptable term. He started at WR, and we need someone else to start at WR this year, which would certainly be considered a replacement. Your point is valid in that we aren’t going to find (nor are we looking for) a clone of exactly what he did, but the fact we do need to “replace” a starting WR cannot be ignored.

    • Jakk Jakkson

      Maggie CC lol

  • paul from nc

    1. Does Rang know that Mariotta is coming out next year? He talks about a DE that is a 1 yr starter. He may be good/great, but the Samoan will be the talk of the draft from Oregon.
    2. Dan Kelly talks about the Eagles top 5 OL. Will be good only if they all stay healthy. The backups don’t look that promising.
    3. Vick should look at some Cunningham tape before he says he started it.

    • ptownelite

      Eagles would need one of the first three picks to get Mariota. Expensive but he could/has exploded in Chips system.

  • Dave S

    Michael Vick a legend in his own mind. Imagine what Kelly could have done with Cunningham!