Photo by: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports.
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
FoxSports.com sat down with Evan Mathis for an edition of ‘Get to Know An Offensive Lineman:’
FOX Sports: Who’s the smelliest guy in your locker room? And please describe the odor.
Evan Mathis: Todd Herremans smells like a very fashionable runway model.
FS: What’s the best or most unique locker room prank you’ve witnessed (or pulled yourself)?
EM: I used a spoofing program to text people from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis’ cell phone to inform them they’d been cut.
FS: Most memorable block of your NFL career?
EM: Hard to say, but I enjoyed my most recent block. The players on the winning Pro Bowl team get a $53,000 check, the losers get $26,000. We scored a touchdown on the last drive of the fourth quarter and we were down by 1. We elected to go for two and it was a handoff to Mike Tolbert right behind myself, Nick Mangold and Tyron Smith. I told myself it was a $27,000 block, Ndamukong Suh ended up on his back and we scored to win by 1.
ESPN.com has released its Week 1 power rankings with the Eagles moving up two spots from the preseason poll to No. 7:
With 27 touchdowns and two interceptions last year, Nick Foles is a lock for regression. But will he regress enough for anyone else to pass Philly in the NFC East?
Chase Stuart of FootballPerspective.com ranks the league’s passers by his preferred metric: Adjusted Net Yards Above League Average (ANY/A):
9) Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
If you’re an Eagles fan, this seems absurdly low; after all, Foles ranked 1st in ANY/A last year, and 2nd in the value metric by which we’re projecting passers. But even if you don’t think Foles is a “system quarterback” he’s still the worst quarterback in my top 10. The loss of DeSean Jackson is one reason to expect worse numbers this year, and regression to the mean is another. I’m a big believer in Chip Kelly, but I’m just not prepared to predict another top-five season for Foles, and he doesn’t have the track record of a Romo, Brady, or Rivers to rank in my top eight, either.
The MMQB put together its 2014 predictions in which the Eagles were pegged by all six analysts to win the NFC East, although no one had them making the NFC championship:
The non-quarterback who, if lost to injury, would derail his team the most …
Greg Bedard: LeSean McCoy, Eagles. He’s so special in that system, Philadelphia couldn’t overcome that loss.
The one offensive lineman you should make a point of watching …
Robert Klemko: Run blocking is more fun to watch than pass protection, and nobody does the former better than Evan Mathis in Philadelphia. The left guard drafted in 2005 is as essential to LeSean McCoy’s success as anybody on that team.
The under-the-radar player who becomes a star …
Jenny Vrentas: Zach Ertz, tight end, Eagles. The former second-round pick will be one of the ways Philadelphia makes up for losing DeSean Jackson. He’ll share time with veteran Brent Celek, but Ertz’s combination of size (6-foot-5) and speed (4.68 40-yard dash) will make him a favorite for Nick Foles in the red zone and up the seams of the field.
Greg A. Bedard of The MMQB is high on Vinny Curry and thinks teams with a 4-3 scheme should inquire about him and/or Brandon Graham because of the Eagles’ 3-4 scheme:
7. A request: Somebody who plays a 4-3 scheme please call the Eagles and inquire about end Vinny Curry and/or outside linebacker/end Brandon Graham. Both are misfits in Philadelphia’s scheme and would be much better off playing in a 4-3. I especially have a soft spot for Curry, who would have finished third among interior rushers in our Pressure Points rating (behind J.J. Watt and Gerald McCoy) if he had more snaps. I prefer Curry because he has more outside (early downs) and inside (pass rush) versatility.
Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine is picking the Eagles to win the Super Bowl and Chip Kelly to be Coach of the Year.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press predicts that the Eagles will beat Green Bay for the NFC title but ultimately fall to Denver in the Super Bowl.
Peter Schrager of Fox Sports gives 10 bold predictions for the 2014 NFL season:
7. THE EAGLES OFFENSE WON’T MISS A BEAT WITH DESEAN JACKSON PLAYING ELSEWHERE.
Guess what? Coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman know what they’re doing. They wouldn’t have cut ties with their top receiver this offseason if they didn’t have a plan in place for 2014. Yes, the team expects to make up for the offensive production of DeSean Jackson with increased output from veterans Zach Ertz, Riley Cooper and a healthy Jeremy Maclin, but the real two keys will be Darren Sproles and rookie Jordan Matthews. The Eagles know what they’re getting in the versatile Sproles and hope to get solid first-year production from Matthews, the SEC’s all-time leading receiver. The potential wild card you likely haven’t heard much about is a do-everything weapon named Trey Burton. A former quarterback/wide receiver/tight end/fullback at Florida, Burton is the perfect Kelly wild card. A relative long shot to make the team this summer, the four-year Florida jackknife made the final 53-man roster last week. What’s Chip Kelly know that the rest of the league doesn’t? Keep an eye on Burton this season.
John Breech of CBSSports.com writes that since 1990, four new teams make the playoffs each year and he believes that the Eagles will be one of four teams that won’t return:
First, it’s probably worth noting that since the postseason field expanded to 12 teams in 1990, there have been at least four new teams every year. That’s every year for over two decades, so we can pretty much take that as fact at this point.
This means that at least four teams from last year’s postseason won’t be returning in 2014. So let me be the first to apologize to Chiefs fans, Eagles fans, Chargers fans and Panthers fans. You guys aren’t returning to the playoffs — but I’m sure your season will be fun.
So, who will win the NFC East?
4. Dallas Cowboys (NFC East Champ): The Cowboys went 8-8 with a historically bad defense last year — and when I say ‘historically bad,’ I mean the third-worst ever. Now, lets say the defense is just slightly better than historically bad in 2014 and they go 9-7. Then you have the Eagles, who went 10-6, thanks in large part to a ridiculously amazing season by Nick Foles. I think Foles can be good this year, but not ridiculously good. I think the Eagles also go 9-7, but Dallas wins the tiebreaker. I know, the Cowboys never win tiebreakers — or Week 17 games when a playoff berth is on the line, but the law of averages has to work in their favor at some point, right?
Sean Leahy of The Boston Globe gives the best and worst case scenarios for all 32 teams:
• Best case: Nick Foles repeats his dazzling 2013 performance and the fortified defense (welcome, Malcolm Jenkins) improves on its 29th-ranked finish last year to make the Eagles serious Super Bowl contenders.
• Worst case: Foles’s accuracy and overall performance decline sharply amid the absence of DeSean Jackson, and the slowdown in the offense can’t mask the defensive breakdowns as the Eagles fall under .500 in Chip Kelly’s second year.
• Realistic case: Foles is good (though maybe he throws more than 2 INTs) and his rapport with a healthy Jeremy Maclin makes up for Jackson’s exit. The defense is solid, and the Eagles make a playoff run.
Projection: 10-6. Loses to Chicago in first round of playoffs.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.