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.”