Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:
ESPN.com is ranking the top-100 players on offense and defense. They have Darren Sproles at No. 100 and Nick Foles at No. 99:
Sproles caught 232 passes in three seasons with the Saints, 37 more than the next closest running back. Nick Foles, Sproles’ new QB, finished 2013 with the highest yards per attempt when targeting his running backs (8.6).
Foles threw 27 touchdowns to 2 interceptions last season. That 13.5 TD-to-interception ratio was the best in NFL history (min. 200 attempts).
Peter King of The MMQB likes what he’s seen from Mark Sanchez:
1. Comeback player of the preseason: Mark Sanchez. I saw Sanchez light up the Bears’ second unit 10 days ago at Chicago, and it was more of the same against the Patriots on Friday night. Sanchez is comfortable in two ways—being out of the New York pressure-cooker, and running Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. I think he was made to play fast. He looks more at ease in a frenetic state, more in command, and certainly comfortable with the offense. This is impressive because he’s coming off shoulder surgery and learning an entirely new scheme.
Matt Williamson of ESPN.com has LeSean McCoy as his second-best open-field threat, behind only Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson:
There isn’t a player in the league with McCoy’s agility, start-and-stop ability, overall elusiveness and ability to accelerate from a dead stop. His field vision is simply superb. To put it in stark terms, he is the closest thing we currently have to Barry Sanders. In fact, like Sanders, McCoy has rushing attempts that show up in the box score as 4- or 5-yard gains that are truly jaw-dropping in their creativity and unlikelihood. Chip Kelly’s system is superb for getting McCoy in space. His 10.4 yards per catch average (for a running back!) in 2014 says all you need to know about what this guy can do in the open field.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com predicts an All-Pro berth for McCoy:
Calling an encore performance from Shady, who rushed for a league-best 1,607 yards and scored 11 total TDs in 2013, this season. With DeSean Jackson having left Philly, the holes might not open as easily as they have in the past. That said, McCoy probably will be asked to carry the rock two to three times more per game. Expect Chip Kelly to really lean on No. 25.
And one for Evan Mathis too:
The best guard and, perhaps, the best offensive lineman in football — that’s how many league observers view Mathis. The veteran played an integral part in LeSean McCoy’s rushing title last season while only allowing two quarterback sacks, to boot.
Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin writes about how the Packers are now diving into the sports science spectrum:
One of those teams, clearly, is the Packers, who like the Eagles want to keep the specifics of their operation under wraps.
McCarthy, who like Kelly also believes in running an up-tempo, no-huddle offense and has been running accelerated practices since before Kelly came into the league, said he and Kelly have never spoke at length, only exchanging pleasantries at NFL event and when their teams played last November at Lambeau Field. He seemed to bristle slightly Monday at the suggestion that he was imitating many of the changes Kelly brought to the Eagles. He credited strength and conditioning coordinator Mark Lovat, the team’s Mike Eayrs-led research and development staff, vice president of football administration Russ Ball, and the medical and athletic training staffs – but also made it clear that if there was something another team was doing that he liked, he would make no apologies for copycatting it.
Evan Silva of Rotoworld says to avoid Darren Sproles in your fantasy drafts:
I think the Eagles were smart to take Sproles off the Saints’ hands for a fifth-round pick. I think he can help Philadelphia win games, particularly as a punt returner. I just don’t think he’s going to help anyone in fantasy football this year.
31 years old, Sproles’ receiving efficiency dipped dramatically in 2013, and he is a non-factor as a ball carrier at this stage of his career. He remains a quality special teamer and gives Chip Kelly increased multiplicity in specialty packages. But Sproles won’t be a player Kelly leans on for production in a decidedly run-based attack. The foundation of Kelly’s offense going back to Oregon has been the running game; the 2013 Eagles led the NFL in rushing and ranked fourth in rushing attempts. Sproles was a high-volume receiver in Sean Payton’s pass-happy attack. The Eagles are far more run committed. Because of his ball-carrying limitations, Sproles isn’t even an effective handcuff for LeSean McCoy. Chris Polk is second in line for carries.
I think Sproles would do well to catch 45-50 passes in 2014. Perhaps he’ll carry the ball 35-50 times. I wouldn’t touch him at his late-seventh-round ADP in standard leagues, and believe he’ll disappoint PPR owners as well.
Bill Belichick on the joint practices with the Eagles:
Bill Belichick on conference call: Joint practices and game with Eagles, combined, were as productive as any we’ve had since doing this.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 16, 2014