Here’s this week’s roundup of national media coverage.
Bovada released their over/under for the Eagles’ win total this season:
— HoldenKushner (@Holdenradio) July 28, 2014
Ross Jones of FOXSports.com explains why he thinks the Eagles will go 11-5:
If the surprising offseason release of wide receiver DeSean Jackson doesn’t come back to haunt coach Chip Kelly, Philadelphia is in prime position to become the first team to defend the NFC East title since the 2004 Eagles. Replacing the offensive threat that Jackson provided won’t be easy. But the Eagles have a multitude of other receiving targets, the NFL’s reigning rushing leader in LeSean McCoy and a rock-solid line even with right tackle Lane Johnson suspended the first four games. The defense also has more depth and a better grasp of coordinator Billy Davis’ 3-4 system.
Scott Kacsmar of ESPN Insider ranks the Eagles 13th in the league in under-25 talent:
There’s no obvious All-Pro player under 25 for the Eagles, but there’s an impressive quantity of players. Right tackle Lane Johnson was Chip Kelly’s first draft pick (No. 4 overall, 2013). He improved as the year went on, but he [will] start 2014 suspended, which we considered in our rankings. RB Chris Polk flashed some big-play potential last season and may thrive as LeSean McCoy’s backup. Rookie WR Jordan Matthews seems like a natural fit for the offense, and rookie Josh Huff played wideout for Kelly at Oregon. Tight end Zach Ertz may be ready for a big jump in his second season, while Brandon Boykin is a really talented slot corner with six interceptions already.
Fletcher Cox is the integral part of the defensive line, as is nose tackle Bennie Logan, just entering just his second season. Mychal Kendricks is a solid interior linebacker, and rookie Marcus Smith may get some reps on passing downs this season.
Sal Paolantonio and Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com discuss Nick Foles‘ progression and how much he gets sacked:
It will be interesting to see how Nick Foles holds up under the scrutiny and pressure of playing all 16 games and also what it does to his production when he has many more pass attempts this season than he did last. I think clearly in talking to the coaches, Phil, they want him to trust what he sees, get rid of the ball quickly, cut down on the number of sacks — he was sacked once every 11 pass attempts this [past] year. If he throws the ball 500 times, that could be 46, 47 sacks; way too many.
There’s no DeSean Jackson hangover, Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com observes:
Jackson is now in Washington but with Jordan Matthews — a second round pick, Brad Smith — the former Jets’ and Bills’ wide receiver getting the nod at the slight right now, Darren Sproles from the Saints, Zach Ertz is healthy again, you didn’t notice anything about DeSean Jackson not being here and that bodes well for the Eagles this season.
Dave Richard of CBSSports.com thinks you should draft Foles and not Tony Romo in fantasy:
Foles is going to be a wild card on Draft Day: Someone might take him as soon as Round 6, or he could fall to Round 10. Romo isn’t quite in the same boat as most Fantasy owners recognize his ability but still wait for him as a bargain pick. What’s appealing about Foles is that his offense should remain challenging for defenses to figure out and he did exceptionally well running it last season. Both quarterbacks carry 250-yard, two-touchdown potential every week but Romo has a bit more of an injury risk to him and might not deliver as many monster games as Foles, who is worth taking a round or two ahead of Romo.
However, colleague Jamey Eisenberg lists Foles as a potential bust:
The Eagles did a nice job in adding talent around Foles this offseason, even with getting rid of Jackson. They brought back Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, traded for Darren Sproles and drafted Jordan Matthews. Zach Ertz will see a bigger role, and LeSean McCoy is still a stud catching passes out of the backfield. But losing Jackson will hurt since Foles targeted him more than any other receiver (70 times), and he completed 71.4 percent of those passes to Jackson. I’m also expecting Foles to regress statistically since he had just two interceptions on the season, and 10 of his 27 touchdowns (37 percent of his production) and 834 of his 2,891 passing yards (29 percent) came against two of the three worst pass defenses in 2013 with Oakland and Minnesota. He does benefit with two games against Dallas’ defense this year, but that first meeting with the Cowboys isn’t until Week 13. Before then he gets four games against elite defenses in San Francisco, St. Louis, Arizona and Carolina and then Seattle in Week 14. It won’t be easy for Foles, and opposing defenses should have a better understanding of Chip Kelly’s offense. I’ll take Foles as a low-end starter, but I’m not drafting him prior to Round 8.
Richard also says Zach Ertz is a breakout fantasy candidate:
In April, Ertz admitted in a roundabout way that coaches felt they had to take him off the field in certain situations. His goal this offseason was to be in a place where coaches would be confident in him no matter what they wanted to do. So far it sounds like he’s accomplished his mission as a number of reports suggest he looks like he’s headed toward breakout status. What we noticed is that Eagles coach Chip Kelly is getting into using his tight ends more at the pro level. Last season, 22.9 percent of the Eagles’ completions went to tight ends. That percentage is the second-highest for tight ends in Kelly’s system since 2006. The rub is that the Eagles have another good tight end in Brent Celek, but he’s more of an old-school tight end, whereas Ertz has some “Gronk” potential to him. He’s 6-foot-5, 250 pounds and has plenty of athleticism. Final point: He finished last season with 18 grabs for 217 yards and four scores over six games (playoff loss included). If we play the extrapolation game with those numbers over 16 games, he’d have 48 receptions for 579 yards and 10 touchdowns, easily Top 10 numbers for a tight end. For a guy with so much potential you’ll be able to get 9 or 10 rounds after Jimmy Graham, you’d be nuts not to consider him.