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.

Chip Kelly is the 18th-best head coach in the league, according to Elliot Harrison of NFL.com:

Kelly is a man who could shoot up this board awfully quickly. His first year in Philadelphia was a smashing success, as the Eagles won 10 games and took the NFC East title in the process. Kelly’s explosive offense lived up to the billing, ranking second in the NFL and causing other teams to look at tempo more closely on both sides of the ball.

The Eagles have the seventh-best roster in the NFL, Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com projects:

RT Lane Johnson’s four-game suspension throws a wrench into this offensive line, although Barbre is a trusty reserve and by Week 5 the league’s best front five will be re-stabilized. Offensive wizard Chip Kelly will replace DeSean Jackson’s 82 catches with a committee approach, utilizing second-round pick Matthews at slot receiver, Darren Sproles in the passing game, and Maclin along the perimeter. Ertz can also expect a larger role after playing just 41% of Philadelphia’s 2013 snaps while Brent Celek handled 77%. Kelly’s offense is quarterback friendly in that it manufactures one-on-one chances for its playmakers, and 25-year-old Foles looks to be a rising star in the scheme. He was arguably the NFL’s most aggressive passer last season, leading the league in both yards per attempt (9.1) and yards per completion (14.2). This offense has great young skill players, a top-notch offensive line, and is coached by Kelly. There’s everything to like.

LeSean McCoy is the most complete back in the league, says Bucky Brooks of NFL.com:

Some might be surprised to see McCoy’s name at No. 1, but opposing defensive coordinators certainly understand the challenge that the NFL’s reigning rushing champion poses on the field. The shifty runner has superb vision, balance and body control. He excels at making defenders miss, yet he’s tough enough to gain the hard yards between the tackles. McCoy is also a polished receiver out of the backfield with the footwork, hands and ball skills to produce big plays in the passing game, as evidenced by his eight receptions of 20-plus yards in 2013. Even with offseason acquisition Darren Sproles lightening his load in 2014, McCoy will continue to drive the Eagles — his dynamic nature as a runner/receiver opens up a world of possibilities for offensive wizard Chip Kelly.

“Miracle at the Meadowlands II” was voted the top play in Eagles history, Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com reveals:

When you see fans voting for great plays that led to championships, it’s a painful reminder that the Eagles haven’t won one of those since 1960. In their victory against the Green Bay Packers that season, Bednarik made a game-saving tackle of Jim Taylor. That play probably belonged on the short list, too, but how many fans have even seen it at this point?

Meanwhile, Jackson’s "miracle" return at the new Giants’ stadium in East Rutherford was voted best play in NFL history a couple years ago. That is pretty hard to ignore, even if you allow for the impact of Youtube and social media and being on an endless loop on SportsCenter.

Don't be surprised by a breakout year from Zach Ertz, Raymond Summerlin of Rotoworld.com notes:

Of all second-year tight ends, Ertz is one of the favorites to breakout. He was highly effective with his limited touches last season, scoring 1.27 fantasy points per target, and is in line for an expanded role following the departure of DeSean Jackson. He is also in an offense that figures to score a lot of points this season.

90 targets are well within reach and could easily see Ertz into the lower reaches of the TE1 tier. He represents great value in the tenth round.

Ertz is also a top-five young tight end to watch, Gil Brandt of NFL.com believes:

The second-year pro is a very skilled receiver and blocker who showed as a rookie (36 catches for 469 yards and four scores) that he can really play well in that Eagles attack, which is a good system for tight ends. Ertz's fluidity helps him get loose in the secondary; he's definitely more than just a straight-line speed guy.

Speaking of speed, while his 4.65-second 40-yard dash might not seem fast, can you imagine a 6-5, 250-pounder barreling toward you at that pace? The image should crystallize the matchup problem that many of the tight ends on this list present: stopping a giant who can run as fast as your 5-11 safety -- and jump as high, too.

Mike Clay of Rotoworld.com thinks the Eagles will be a run-heavy team this year:

For the most part, Chip Kelly’s rookie-season play-calling was about as expected. He called pass 56 percent of the time, which was the league’s six-lowest mark. The Eagles went 10-6 and led on 44 percent of their snaps, so part of the run-heavy number was philosophy and some was game flow. The Eagles’ roster still has a few holes, but the Kelly offense will keep them ahead on the scoreboard or, at least, competitive in most games. Expect a run-first approach with a few extra rushing opportunities as a result of late-game leads.

The Eagles will repeat as division champs, Rich Eisen writes in a guest column for TheMMQB.com:

I think we may have repeat division winners in six of the eight divisions this year. If you think that sounds far-fetched, well, NFL GameDay Morning researcher Bill Smith says the last time it happened was … 2012. But I’m going to say it happens again, and it’s still not going to involve the division that has yet to have a repeat winner since realignment brought it into existence in 2002: the NFC South. So I predict the Packers, Patriots, Colts, Broncos, Eagles, and Seahawks all repeat as division champions.

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  • PatrickVoltage

    Harrison says Kelly is 18th best? LOL

  • ICDogg

    So really, Kelly is getting the same ‘wait and see’ treatment as Foles nationally for now.

    • Tikkit, draft crapshoot

      Sure Fluke Kelly who was supposed to be Spurrier 2.0 with an offense that wouldn’t translate and not a care about defense is now Maybe Kelly. Maybe he was a fluke, maybe he won’t continue to be ahead of the curve, maybe blah, blah, blah. I think it’s time to start ranking the writers and doing over/unders on bad reporting and tired storylines.

    • Breathe 21

      You can’t seriously expect people to just hand over praise on such an elite level. This is the NFL, most of the greatest coaches and players in the world. You can’t come in one year and surpass what others have done on a consistent basis. Who cares what the media thinks anyway? It’s just opinion and could be a blessing, because being hyped up draws attention.

      • ICDogg

        They do it all the time, based on their expectations. I guarantee you if Manziel has a good year this year, even half as good as Foles last year, he’ll be on everyone’s top ten list.

        • Breathe 21

          None of the respectable experts will have Johnny Manziel in the 10 ten Qbs. That’s as ridiculous as saying Nick Foles is top 10 right now

  • JosephR2225

    Thanks for the insight, Mike Clay.

  • Dominik

    Harrison should take some private tutoring from Silva, who wrote one of the best pieces by a national writer that I have read in a long time.

    The list is a flat out joke, not only because of Kelly. Trestman 24? One place behind Garrett, who’s 23 because of what? Arians 13? Fisher 12? Smith 11? Tomlin 9? Carroll 7? Coughlin 5? So wrong on so many levels.

    • anon

      Yeah i mean i see some of the logic in what he’s done. I don’t agree with the list but i think it’s ok. Think AR got a lot of credit. But guys in the top 10 have been to or won a SB — that’s really what matters to people. Carroll is low, but Tomlin has 2 SBs.

      • peteike

        ya lets face it, lists are dumb, we all know that by now. They are arbitrary and dont mean anything…..ever

        • OldDuckMcDoc

          Not true! I’ve a good mind to compile a list of the Top 10 Lists of the 2014 Offseason to show your how wrong you are.

        • Andy Six Score and Four

          Absolutely. The two dumbest things I can think of right now are:
          1) Lists
          2) Irony

        • DirtyWaters

          I blame buzzfeed.

      • Fly High

        I agree, I see his logic. This would not have been my list, but I feel like his list is history heavy, in terms of the ratings, but at least he is consistent, he grades on history all the way through, and if I accept his weight of history premise, then the list is pretty accurate.

    • JosephR2225

      The top half of the list would have been pretty accurate five years ago though.

      • Dominik

        Lol, you’re right. Stuck in the past, I’d think.

  • paul from nc

    I’m not as sold on the OL as Silva is. It’s hard to believe there will be no injuries, like last year, and the depth is severely lacking. Hopefully we pick up some late cuts prior to the season.

  • paul from nc

    No mention of Jordan in any of the articles. I expect big things from him as the season rolls on.

  • jabostick

    Harrison’s list is comical

  • 76mustang

    Jerry Jones has won 3 Super Bowls, guess he must be one of the top GMs…

  • Cyrus Robinson

    One thing that popped to head was if Chip Kelly will adapt better to playing with a lead. I don’t remember how well documented it was last year, but we lost a few big leads last year or didn’t keep leads as well as I felt they should have. I felt like the Eagles’ offense played better when they were trailing or tied. Could some database guru perhaps look to see Foles’ passer rating when tied or behind versus ahead? Or yards per play with the same criteria? Just some ideas :)

    • myeaglescantwin

      you’re right.

      he definitely took his foot off the pedal in some of the earlier games. I noticed that stopped a bit towards the end of the year (oakland & chicago).

    • JosephR2225

      The splits for Foles are on his ESPN stats page.
      When leading: 109/156, 10.05 ypa, 16 TDs, 0 INTs, 136.4 rating
      When trailing: 58/103, 8.01 ypa, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 101.0 rating
      When tied: 36/58, 8.59 ypa, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 105.4 rating

  • Max Lightfoot

    I like Rich Eisen. He seems like a reasonable, decent human being. Barring disaster, the Eagles will trounce the rest of the division – not even close.

    • Jeff Asay

      Liked Rich during his old ESPN days, but I can’t stand him on NFL Network. He seems like he’s sleepwalking through the show most of the time.

      • peteike

        ya because they cant produce a decent show at all on that network I cant blame him for sleepwalking. Some of their stuff is just terrible.

  • Tikkit, draft crapshoot

    Will people quit regurgitating “This is going to be a breakout year for Ertz”? Enough. I think these guys all circulate a master list of “good guesses”.

  • Addicted2MAmula

    7th best offense even without WhoSean. Skins ranked 13th I believe but they have the most explosive offense obviously that dont matter

  • JofreyRice

    wow, the Zach Ertz bandwagon is getting pretty full. Still tough for me to see him as a future star. He ran a 4.76, not a 4.65–and had a miserable VJ.

    • John E. Zang

      He seems to play quicker than that and if the combine was a true measure of players success in the NFL than Andy’s many “high motor combine warrior” drafts would’ve been the greatest of all times.

      • JofreyRice

        I don’t think he plays quicker. I think the coaching he received at Stanford helped him develop his route running to a higher level than most rookie TEs. I think he’s a very measured athlete that wins through technique, not explosive at all, and not much of a blocker, at this point.

    • anon

      He’s in an offense that features him. Who cares how fast he is — the offense will get him open, he runs great routes, he catches TDs. Won’t be gronk/graham but will be a good “sleeper” TE.

      • JofreyRice

        I think he can be a solid TE. His 40 time was wrong here.

    • Token

      yea I still cant figure out what this kid has done to get people all excited. I think its simply that hes got a big frame and plays in a high scoring offense.

      Ertz may end up being really good. But people acting like he has proved anything to this point are lying to themselves.

      • John E. Zang

        I think his stats for a first year player with a shaky qb situation for a fair share of the year are very positive. Don’t forget he also didn’t join the team until training camp from the NCAA rule. Not many tight ends hit 1000 yards as a rookie. In fact I don’t think any have.

        • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

          Pretty sure he had a top 5-10 rookie season for a TE ever.

      • JofreyRice

        Same here. He looks like a solid TE. Can’t say I’ve seen anything special. Put him and a young Celek next to each other, and I’d prefer Brent.

    • johnr

      Thankfully the Eagles are a football team not a track and field team. Ertz played well by the end of the season.

      • JofreyRice

        I wonder why Brandt felt the need to improve his time, then?

    • Explorer51

      From the San Jose Mercury Times 3/21/13:

      After a disappointing performance at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month, the former Monte Vista High standout enhanced his standing as a potential first-round draft pick with significantly improved marks in the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump.

      Ertz ran 40 times ranging from 4.65 to 4.76 at the combine. But Thursday, he posted times ranging from 4.57 to 4.63 in front of scouts representing all 32 NFL teams on hand to evaluate 12 Stanford draft prospects. Ertz also improved on his combine vertical jump by a whopping five inches — from 301/2 inches to 351/2.

      So I guess Gil Brandt actually was being pessimistic…

      • JofreyRice

        haha yeah, pro days. Pretty sure Lane Kiffin accidentally clocked a 4.4 at USC’s.

        • Explorer51

          It appears that at least one of Ertz’s times at the combine was a 4.65 which should refute your complaint about Brandt’s statement. And since when have Pro Days become irrelevant? Chip Kelly was reported to have shown up at more of these this year than any other HC. Besides Combine and Pro Day results are NFL draft fodder, it’s kind of irrelevant going into a player’s second year.

          • JofreyRice

            Pro Days are notorious for producing better results in almost every category, in almost every player’s case. The official time is what I’m going by, not some number that the San Jose times reported unofficially, or the pro day time, or what the player said he could have run if not for XYZ.

            40 time is not completely irrelevant, especially in the case of Ertz, where you combine it with the atrocious vertical jump. It indicates that the player is not really a quick twitch athlete. That could be fine for a TE; worked like gangbusters for Jason Witten over the years. What I’m disagreeing with here, is that Ertz is some fleet of foot monster that’s going to be trucking people. He’s not. He’s a measured mover that has a lot more polish to his route-running than most of the TE’s his age/experience level. A beneficiary of the system, but could produce at a solid level. I don’t see him as a “special” guy. Not at all.

          • Sean Stott

            “not really a quick twitch athlete”

            Alright, thanks for the critique Mike Mayock.

          • JofreyRice

            you don’t have to be Mike Mayock to know the difference, but you’re certainly welcome, sweetie.

      • Rockedupeaglesfan

        I remember this storyline from that draft. He and Tyler Eiffert went back and forth between combine and pro days on who was the fastest TE that year, but something is a little off. I get a fast clock, but the guy gained 5″ on his vertical? Something isn’t right

  • Chipadelphia22

    I’m planning on drafting ertz as a back up and hoping he becomes a juggerant in FF

    • anon

      who else you getting. Thinking Ertz, Ebron or Cameron or are you a Graham / Gronk kind of guy?

  • peteike

    Orton is out and they still have to pay his bonus. Your new Cowboys backup QB is 38 yr old Brandon Weeden

  • MediaMike

    – Kelly at 18 is comedic. Harrison is a loser.
    – I agree with Silva, our roster is promising!
    – McCoy is a 3 down back who must be watched closely in the passing game. Peterson is a better pure runner, but has yet to scare people in passing situations. That could change under Norv Turner however, I think the Vikings are going to have an interesting year of improvement under Zimmer and Turner.
    – I agree that that 2nd miracle game in NJ was awesome, I wonder where that player went?
    – I’m a huge Ertz fan and think he should be on the field more than Celek this year

  • MediaMike

    I’d like to thank Rick Eisen for injecting some intelligence into the division winner conversation. A few points.
    1) Anybody predicting that rotting swamp corpse of a football team from the swamps of New Jersey to finish ahead of the Eagles can drop dead. I’m tiring of hearing Giants fans and pro-NY biased media members fluff the Giants into anything other than the declining POS football team that they are. F that team, their players, and their fan base. There is nothing more contemptible that NY sports fans.

    2) Reports out of San Fran is that they’re reading to make a 2nd attempt (after last year’s failed attempt in the first 4 or 5 weeks of the season) to turn more of the O over to Kaepernick’s throwing, rather than using the run-heavy formula that allows them to win games. Eisen is correct in picking Seattle to win that division again. Going pass first with a nit-wit like Kaepernick is tantamount to Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds to be your school’s representative in the county spelling bee.

  • Neanderthal

    If the question was asked, If you owned a NFL team, who would you want to coach it?
    Do you really think EH would come up with 17 coaches he would rather have than Chippah? That is insane. Give me Belacheat, Harbaugh and Harbaugh, Carroll and maybe Peyton..
    Does it bother anyone else that all the “experts” are calling for Ertz to break out?
    Please no bad karma. may this be the one thing they are right on.