What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s the weekly roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Don Banks of SI.com writes that Chip Kelly is not about to let Michael Vick get comfortable:

But clearly Kelly is writing nothing in cement at quarterback this season in Philadelphia, and Vick should think of his starting designation as a status he’d be wise to earn a week at a time, for the next four-plus months. I listened to Kelly’s comments over the weekend, and I came away convinced that he’s on to something with the idea he introduced into his hotly contested quarterback derby: Namely that Vick at this point in his less-than-conventional career is better served by never being allowed to feel completely secure in the starting job.

In other words, here’s the carrot, and here’s the stick. Keep chasing.

Ashley Fox of ESPN.com weighs in on why Kelly chose Vick:

The guy is Vick. The reason is simple: The Eagles are Vick’s team. It is obvious. It might have taken Kelly several months to figure that out, but it is an inescapable truth. The players wanted Vick to be the starter. They like Foles, sure, but many look up to and admire Vick. Some idolize him. They all remember the Michael Vick experience. They remember how he ran as a rookie for Atlanta. They’ve all seen the good, and they believe in him.

Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. has the Eagles’ offensive line as one of his most-improved units, league-wide:

This is a new offense under Chip Kelly that puts a priority on athletic ability and range by the guys up front. In addition, they must be able to block on the second level. All of these offensive linemen run well and have the attributes to flourish in this scheme.

Greg A. Bedard of TheMMQB.com likes what he saw from LeSean McCoy:

Also, for all the talk about the Eagles quarterbacks, the player who will reap the benefit the most from Kelly’s offense is running back LeSean McCoy (pictured at the top of this column, scoring against the Panthers). There might not be a better space runner in the league, and that’s the goal of that scheme—to create extra space. One more Eagles note: First-round pick Lane Johnson has been a standout at right tackle so far.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com offers his one lasting impression from  his visit to Philadelphia:

I never saw a huddle in two hours and 20 minutes. I saw Mike Vick complete seven passes in a row in seven-on-seven drills. I have no idea if the Eagles can play any defense, but this is going to be a fun offense to watch.

Adam Schein of NFL.com thinks the Eagles could be a surprise team:

Bottom line: The Eagles are going to be better than you think. I’m all in on Kelly and will continue screaming my belief in the NFL newbie from the mountaintop.

Could Philly prove to be the best of an average bunch in the NFC East and shock the NFL world?

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com predicts an All-Pro year for Evan Mathis:

The former journeyman is starting to get some credit; Pro Football Focus had him rated as the top guard in football last season. The transformation of the Eagles’ offense will depend on Mathis.

Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com says he’s rooting for Vick and the Eagles this year:

The awesomeness of Vick applies on the field, too. He remains one of the most perfectly constructed quarterbacks ever, a guy with a strong arm and beautiful throwing motion and tailback speed. He’s never had the right offense to showcase all of what he has, but what do you know? He has that offense now. Chip Kelly wrings every bit of production he can get out of his quarterbacks — he did at Oregon, anyway — and now he’ll try to do the same with Vick. If only he’d gotten Vick when he was 23 instead of 33 …

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

Chip Kelly sure has livened up that offense. And it looks like Mike Vick will be the starter. They will be fun to watch.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s the weekly roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. includes Jason Peters and Jason Kelce on his list of key players returning from injury:

Last season was basically lost for this duo with Kelce going out in Week 2 with a torn ACL and Peters missing the entire year with a ruptured Achilles. Chip Kelly’s new offense is tough to master for offensive linemen, so the Eagles need these veterans to be healthy. Kelce is smart, instructive, good in space and he makes all the line calls, while Peters is an elite run/pass-blocker. Kelly’s scheme requires O-linemen who can run and get in space — and both of these guys can do that.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com writes about Cary Williams:

The Eagles are rebuilding, and while I know that’s a dirty word in the NFL, sometimes it’s true. This is a team that won four games last year and made a ton of significant changes. Of course they could contend this year. Stranger things have undoubtedly happened. But the likelihood is that the Chip Kelly Eagles will need a lot more time to get from where they were in January — and even where they are now — to where Kelly ultimately plans and hopes to take them. Williams is expressing the frustration that comes along with being involved in something that’s new and not yet established. Coming from Baltimore, he’s not used to that. This probably won’t be the last time he or someone else in that locker room is frustrated.

Chris Burke of SI.com thinks the looks Chip Kelly showed last week signal he doesn’t necessarily need a mobile QB:

The governing idea behind a spread offense — hence the name — is that by “spreading” the field sideline-to-sideline with personnel, the defense has to react in kind, thus leaving gaps and mismatches in key spots. When Vick is on the field, the Eagles can cash in on that by asking their QB to get outside; when Foles, Barkley or a less-mobile quarterback is in the game, Kelly can turn to formations like the stack and plays like this read-option with a WR screen to quickly push the ball wide.

Greg A. Bedard of MMQB offers first impressions of the Eagles:

The Eagles, by the way, are going to be really challenged this season. There is a severe lack of talent, and there’s obviously a big transition in offensive and defensive schemes going on. Philadelphia could be one of those teams that starts slow, but then builds some momentum into next season. Sort of like how the Dolphins, under Nick Saban, started 3-7 in his first season in 2005, but won their final six games. Miami’s momentum could have been carried over if Saban had picked Drew Brees over Daunte Culpepper—and if Saban hadn’t had one eye on the back door to Alabama.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles’ 26th in his power rankings:

Lost in the Riley Cooper shuffle: how much losing Jeremy Maclin means to coach Chip Kelly’s offense. Maclin was often the “X” receiver in the Eagles’ offense, a spot that the aforementioned Cooper will have to fill, especially with Jason Avant now manning the slot. And with Arrelious Benn (knee) also out, tight end Clay Harbor has logged some reps outside. The passing game in Philly should be interesting come opening night at Washington, and not just because of whoever’s at quarterback.

Greg Gabriel of the National Football Post likes what he sees from Jake Knott:

Knott has good size and strength and plays with power. He is a quick reactor who finds the ball, is active and makes plays. In this game, you knew he was on the field. He has good hand use and can get rid of blocks quickly. He is effective as a blitzer, showing a burst off a block to close and is a very good tackler. He has good ability to drop in coverage and plays with awareness. While I did not see his special teams play in this game I have no doubt that he can be a very good team’s player once the season starts. He has that kind of aggressiveness. Like Logan I doubt he will start this year, but should be a valuable backup at both inside linebacker positions.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles going 5-11 and finishing last in the NFC East.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly Expecting Kelce To Lead O-Line

Jason KelceJason Kelce has not spent much time away from the NovaCare Complex this offseason. The Eagles’ center estimated that the longest stretch he’s gone without stepping foot in the practice facility has been one week.

“I’ve always been a guy that’s around here a lot,” Kelce said earlier this summer. “Part of that is I think we just have great facilities, and I try to make sure that I’m in shape year-round, trying to improve my physical abilities. And obviously for this year, it was really important just to try to hone in on the quad strength in particular to get back to where it was before the injury.”

Kelce is coming off a torn ACL which he sustained in Week 2 of the 2012 season. The third-year player watched from afar as his teammates labored through a disastrous 4-12 campaign.

Now playing for a new coach, Kelce has earned praise from Chip Kelly all offseason for the work he’s put in at the team’s facility. And Kelly knows the O-Line will play a major role in determining how quickly his offense can get on track.

“I would think what we do helps him,” Kelly said. “I think there are a lot of double teams. …I would think what we do caters to Jason’s strength also. He’s extremely quick. He can get on 3-techniques pretty fast. He does a great job because he is such a smart player of reading double teams and who is coming off on the linebacker.

“So a lot of what we do… they ran a lot of zone plays here last year, so I don’t think it’s drastically different from a run game standpoint than what they were doing last year.”

Aside from actually executing blocks, Kelce is also in charge of setting the Eagles’ protection up front. The pre-snap routine requires communication between all of the offensive linemen, and the quarterback has the ability to change the call at the line of scrimmage. But it’s Kelce’s job to identify the front and put the offense in position to successfully block the play.

Earlier this summer, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland used terms like “tremendous” and “off-the-charts” to describe Kelce’s football acumen. Kelly seems to agree.

“He’s really the leader of those guys up front,” Kelly said. “I think our O‑line calls start with him. It’s between him and the quarterback and making sure the protection is set the right way. He’s got a great football mind. He’s one of those guys that I would say when he’s done playing, he’ll be a great coach because I think his attention to detail, how much film he watches, how much he studies the game. I think he’s done a great job so far.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

T-Mac talks to Lane Johnson about his big week – both personally and professionally. Do yourself a favor and click on the pic of Johnson’s baby’s monster hands.

Eagles players explain how they scored two touchdowns on the same play last week, using a run-pass option concept. No-22 shots included!

From playing time to the D-Line rotation to the addition of WR Jeff Maehl, here are three practice leftovers from Tuesday.

Billy Davis breaks down the Eagles’ breakdown on defense vs. the Pats.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

LeSean McCoy is expecting big things from DeSean Jackson this year, writes Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com:

“I think he’s back,” said McCoy, who led the NFL with 20 touchdowns two years ago. “I think the DeSean Jackson that we always knew about and saw and missed is back.

“I think Coach Kelly has a lot to do with it. I think [Jackson's] attitude is different. Just the way he’s working in the weight room, conditioning wise, the way he’s practicing, I think he’s back.

Great post by Jimmy Kempski over at Philly.com on Vinny Curry’s first step:

There were times in which Curry was lined up along the interior DL and he got doubled in the run game. In those situations, he had difficulty anchoring against the run. That’s understandable, and it’s probably best for the Eagles to try to keep him out of those situations whenever they can. However, it seems pretty clear that Vinny Curry absolutely has a role in this defense as an interior pass rusher, and he can be a very effective one.

COMING UP

The Eagles’ walk-through is closed to the media, but we have plenty to get to.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com chimes in on Riley Cooper’s return:

We had a wonderful national conversation about racism thanks to Cooper, dividing into the usual camps and defending our familiar territories. Once again, we were both too eager to attack and too enthusiastic in defense, too loud while trying to win arguments to listen for quieter wisdom. America proved once again that we do not communicate about race very well. Casual expressions of racial hatred continue to be a big deal because so many people insist that they are no big deal, yet making even bigger deals about them brings us no closer to understanding, tolerance or unity.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com offers his thoughts on Cooper returning:

As I’ve said a few times, I don’t get what’s so special about Cooper as a player that warrants this headache. He doesn’t seem perceptibly better than the other replacement-level receivers they have on the roster, even with starter Jeremy Maclin out for the season with a torn ACL.

But it’s not my team. It’s Chip Kelly’s and Howie Roseman’s and above all else Jeffrey Lurie’s. And those guys have decided that Cooper is important enough to their 2013 chances that they need him around and the best thing for them is to work through the current issues and reach a point at which Cooper can play with and for the Eagles. If they didn’t think that, he’d likely be gone.

Austin Murphy of SI.com checks in on Nnamdi Asomugha:

“Everything was different,” he recalled before a recent Niners practice. “We were coming off that lockout year, so everything was tough.” Without benefit of minicamps or a real training camp, he was thrown into the deep end of an ill-fated schemed dubbed the “The Wide Nine,” the brainchild of first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. “The defensive staff was brand new,” said Asomugha, “most of the players were brand new. It took longer than we wanted for the communication and all that stuff to start working.”

Josh Katzowitz of CBSSports.com thinks a four-day leave for Cooper is a joke:

Four days of absence, to me, is a joke. If four days is all it takes to clean out your system and remake yourself as a more tolerant person, I have to believe that you didn’t have much interest in changing yourself in the first place.

But hey, if the team’s winning and Cooper is contributing, I’m sure Cooper’s teammates will be OK with it (to hear Cooper tell it, though, maybe the four days away was better for him than I’m implying).

Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld.com takes a look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for DeSean Jackson:

Best Case: Andy Reid is gone with the wind — and so is the stagnation in Jackson’s game. Always a moveable chess piece, Jackson is finally treated like one in Chip Kelly’s offense, unleashing his inner Percy Harvin (albeit, with less broken tackles). Jackson’s 1,300 yards from scrimmage are a new career high, as are his 11 total touchdowns.

Worst Case: Jackson simply isn’t physical enough for Kelly’s system. He breaks his hand on a block in Week 4, missing three games and quelling Kelly’s dream. Jackson is a moveable chess piece, alright, but only a rook. He’s a frustrating WR3.

Jason Smith of NFL.com has Eagles-Patriots as one of his 10 preseason games to watch:

This will be our first glimpse at Chip Kelly’s offense in a game situation. Can he really run a play every 12 seconds like he wants to? Are the Eagles well conditioned enough to execute it? Everyone is eager to see if the latest “it” college offense can translate into the NFL. And the happiest guy in the world will be Donovan McNabb, because you know what he’ll be saying during the game: “Man, I hope someone throws up so people can stop asking me why I puked in the Super Bowl. Ooh, LeSean’s taking his helmet off! Come on, dude, do it!”

Judy Battista of NFL.com says the Patriots have provided a roadmap for the Eagles:

The Patriots and Eagles are practicing together this week before playing a preseason game Friday night. The Hernandez situation might have already encouraged teams to dig deeper into players’ backgrounds before drafting them, and Patriots management might still face more questions about what it knew of Hernandez when he was with the team. But for now, as the Eagles try to move on from their own firestorm — albeit about a far less devastating situation than Hernandez’s — the Patriots have provided a roadmap.

Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus is not sold on the Eagles’ secondary:

While I’m more optimistic than most about the offense, I’ve got real concerns about the opposite side of the ball, particularly in the secondary. With Kenny Phillips still playing on the second team it leaves a starting safety combination of Nate Allen and Patrick Chung. Combine that with Cary Williams and Brandon Boykin at corner (and no clear nickel back unless Bradley Fletcher comes back to play the outside) and you have possibly the thinnest secondary in the NFL this year.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com says everyone can learn from the Riley Cooper incident:

I don’t expect the media to respond as responsibly. Too many of us will think the solution is for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Riley Cooper. Too many of us will think Riley Cooper in no way reflects on all of us.

Well, I’ve been young, drunk, filled with athletic testosterone and partying in a sea of blackness. I’m glad there were no cellphone cameras then. I’ve been middle-aged, drunk, filled with non-athletic cholesterol and partying in a sea of blackness. I’m glad no one recorded the foolish thoughts I’ve uttered when I assumed no one around me would be offended.

Jerry Rice tells Clark Judge of CBSSports.com he would have a problem playing with Cooper:

“Yeah, I would have a problem playing with him,” Rice said Friday. “One thing everyone is saying is, ‘Look, we know this guy,’ but come to find out, I guess they didn’t. Whenever you use the N-word like that it’s something you can’t take back.”

Cooper can learn from this incident, writes Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com:

I watched video of Cooper meeting the media within hours of his video comments going viral, and I watched it with my finger hovering over the cursor, the cursor hovering over the “exit” link. Because this was hard to watch. Cooper’s agony, his misery, were palpable. He deserved every ounce of discomfort, don’t get me wrong. He’s not the victim here, not some poor dude who got ratted out by a stranger with a cell phone. Riley Cooper screwed up in a virulent way.

Ashley Fox of ESPN.com gets Michael Vick’s take:

Vick is concerned. He has as good a read on the locker room as anyone. He is one of the team’s leaders. He is the oldest player on the roster. He has been around.

“I’m not going to let this divide the locker room,” Vick said. “We have football games to win. We have to pull together.”

Zach Rodgers of ESPN.com looks at Matt Barkley as a potential fit in the Eagles’ offense:

As for Barkley, he notched a completion percentage of 75 percent on passes 10 yards or fewer, while completing 60 percent of third-down attempts during his career at USC.

But Barkley’s ability to protect the ball as a rookie will be a major concern. Barkley recorded an interception every 26 throws during his senior season, ranking 118th in FBS. That was a significant drop-off from his junior year campaign, when he ranked 18th in interception rate among qualified QBs.

Mike Pouncey tells NFL.com he feels bad for his former Florida teammate:

“I spent three years in college with him. I feel bad for him. That’s not Riley Cooper,” Pouncey told NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington on Friday. “I know him. I know his family. I wasn’t offended by it because I know him. It’s just an ugly situation, and I really feel bad for him. I’ll reach out to him eventually — but I want things to die down. I don’t want to be one of those guys trying to give him advice.”

Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports looks at how Vick has handled the Cooper situation:

Vick sought forgiveness in that same locker room four years ago. He needed people like Avant to embrace him even though what he did doesn’t deserve any understanding. Vick must have heard Cooper’s apology and seen a trace of himself. At some point, when you’ve done wrong, you have to admit it and hope to get better.

Albert Breer of NFL.com comments on how Chip Kelly is handling the Cooper situation:

To his credit, the Eagles’ new leader didn’t simply try to diffuse the situation and push it into the past. He had the good sense to know this isn’t the kind of incident you can compartmentalize. It’s impossible to handle it with any type of groupthink, because different players have different life experiences affecting their take. And the coach has to know that this will linger, and likely come back to life any time there’s any sort of altercation or turmoil, either internally or with another team.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s this week’s roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

With Jeremy Maclin out, the pressure’s on DeSean Jackson, writes ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox:

With Maclin out, Jackson is going to have to be something he never has been before: a leader. He is an emotional player who in the past has not shown a willingness to fight through adversity. He tuned Reid out. Vick often had to act as a buffer to try to keep Jackson’s head in the game, but now it is not even a lock that Vick will be the starting quarterback.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland weighs in on the Maclin injury:

The Maclin injury is disappointing in a different way. The good news is that Maclin should be able to return from the injury for a second time; he tore his ACL before his freshman year at Missouri in 2006 and redshirted before posting a 1,055-yard season the following year. It’s distressing to see a player suffer the same injury to the same knee, but the previous injury happened seven years ago, so let’s hope that it doesn’t become a more chronic injury.

SI.com’s Peter King offers his thoughts on Maclin:

What’s most hurtful about Maclin’s being lost for the season with a torn ACL after collapsing at practice Saturday is that Eagles coach Chip Kelly needs the quickness and playmaking Maclin surely would have provided the offense. Now Kelly will have to find it in a far less experienced player like Riley Cooper. This increases the pressure on DeSean Jackson to be a home-run hitter. I remember talking to one NFL GM last fall about Kelly’s strengths. The GM said one of the reasons Kelly would be in such high demand in the NFL is because at Oregon he consistently took players other colleges didn’t want and turned them into high-functioning contributors in a fast-paced offense. I wouldn’t count out the Eagles. I just figure Kelly will use the summer to test two or three guys down the depth chart (Greg Salas, Cooper, Arrelious Benn) and find a way to make plays.

Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders/ESPN.com ranks teams based on 25-and-under talent. He’s got the Eagles at No. 23:

About the only two young players who didn’t plateau last season were Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. Cox turned in a promising season as a run-stopper, and Graham resurrected his career with 5.5 sacks and 26 hurries in a very limited role off the bench. The Eagles had a lot of other young players surface last season, but most of them didn’t play beyond replacement level. Bryce Brown made a strong run at looking like a promising young back, but he was hit and fumbled it.

Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has Bryce Brown ranked sixth on his list of breakout players:

It has been a long and winding road to the NFL for Brown, who was the No. 1 running back prospect in the nation in high school but lost most of his college career to transfers and revoked scholarships. He needs to work on fumbling issues — he had four last year on just 115 carries — but we expect Chip Kelly to run the ball a lot in Philadelphia, which means playing time for Brown even if McCoy stays healthy all year.

Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com says Donovan McNabb is a true Philly legend:

McNabb is a true Philly Legend, which is different from being a true legend. Philly Legends flirt with excellence early in their career, bringing the city within a boarding-school reach of a championship. Then they linger in the lineup for epochs as they slowly fade, accumulating the scorn and frustration of decades of sports disappointment like an old slice of wedding cake absorbing onion smells in the freezer. Every 25 years or so, a Philly Legend accidentally wins a championship, but it doesn’t change the narrative much: you aren’t a Philly Legend until the whole Delaware Valley is ready for you to go away. And then you come back.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

Chip Kelly’s camp will bring a lot of new things. Will it bring a new starting quarterback?

Robert Mays of Grantland names Evan Mathis as one of the 22 most under-appreciated players in the league:

Clearly, Mathis stands to gain from claiming that time at his gym led to the best physical condition of his life — but the results are there. His 2011 season was the best of his career by far. Along with the physical changes, Mathis’s time in Philadelphia came with an offensive-line education that outdid anything he’d gotten in his previous NFL stops. That season was the first in Philadelphia for offensive line coach Howard Mudd, a man who, at the time, had 38 years of experience teaching the art of the block. “I think I was able to make up for all of those lost years earlier in my career just by being able to learn from him,” Mathis says.

And in case you missed it from the Wake-Up Call, Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal :

As Kelly mans his first full week of NFL training camp, installing a high-revving Ferrari engine into the Eagles’ offense, league insiders say there are exactly zero indications NFL referees will be willing participants in the Kelly era. The NFL, they say, has a long-standing pace at which they do things between plays and the referees “aren’t going to change just to accommodate someone’s offense,” said Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating who is now an analyst for Fox Sports.

“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo, our officials do,” said NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren’t going to rush [unless] it’s in the two minute drill.”

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What They’re Saying: All Eyes On Vick Vs. Foles

Michael VickHere’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com recently put out his top-25 position battles. And guess who’s at No. 1?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback: Michael Vick vs. Nick Foles. It’s No. 1 on the list because it’s a starting quarterback job for a team that might make the playoffs. It’s easy to forget Vick was getting MVP consideration only three years ago. He’s the favorite because of his salary and experience, but Foles has a legitimate chance.

Clark Judge of CBSSports.com looks at 10 burning questions going into camp:

How will Chip Kelly’s offense translate to the NFL? Not sure. One thing we do know, though: His players will be in shape. Kelly runs practices as if he were late for dinner — with several drills going at once and all at a frantic tempo. Does that make the Eagles better? Nope. It just makes them a vastly improved fitness class. But I don’t care how fast the Eagles practice; I just care how carefully they protect the football. Over the past 32 games they committed 75 turnovers, and look no farther when you wonder what happened to this franchise.

Ashley Fox of ESPN.com offers up 10 pre-camp storylines and includes the Eagles’ QB situation:

The bet here is that Vick, despite his inconsistencies, will win the starting job. But how long he will hold on to it likely will be an ongoing story.

Adam Schein of NFL.com lists the most important player on every NFC team. For the Eagles, he goes with Jason Peters:

For all of last year’s talk about the Eagles’ awful defense and the issues with Mike Vick’s health and play, I thought the biggest group of underachievers in Philly was the offensive line. Vick can’t stay healthy if he doesn’t have protection. Losing Peters for the season was a crushing offseason blow last spring. For Vick and the potentially dynamic passing attack to have a chance, for LeSean McCoy to have room to run, the Eagles need stability up front. Peters’ return — and his return to greatness — is paramount to Philadelphia’s success. This should be a vastly improved line (and Eagles team) in 2013.

Matt Williamson of ESPN.com looks at three camp issues for the Birds, including the health of Peters:

Before his Achilles injury, I thought Peters was the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He missed the entire 2012 season, a year in which the Eagles’ offensive line was simply horrible. Other injuries certainly factored into that ineptitude, but getting Peters back in the form we saw pre-injury would go a long way to making this a potentially excellent unit, especially with the addition of Lane Johnson. But therein lies the question: What kind of movement skills will we see from the 31-year-old Peters, a tight end in college who once possessed exceptional quickness, balance and agility?

Chris Burke of SI.com previews the Eagles and the NFC East:

Some people are expecting Chip Kelly to work magic from the get-go. Others believe he’s doomed to fail in the NFL. The bar should be set somewhere in the middle for Year 1. This is a team in transition, especially on defense. Plus, even the best coaches struggle when trying to implement radical scheme shifts, as Kelly may on offense. It’s possible a Michael Vick-led offense absolutely explodes under Kelly’s tutelage. More likely, the defense will continue to struggle a bit in 2013 and this team will be ready to contend again in 2014.

Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld looks at the best- and worst-case scenario for LeSean McCoy:

Best Case: The beast is unleashed in year five. With coach Andy Reid no longer around to waste touches on Jason Avant and Clay Harbor, “Shady” pilots the most run-heavy offense in the league, making 2013 the heir apparent to his elite 2011. McCoy’s injury-marred, ineffective 2012 is but a distant memory as he leads the league in both yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns.

Worst Case: McCoy’s touches per game actually go down as coach Chip Kelly, intent on utilizing the powerful and explosive Bryce Brown, employs a two-back attack. Shady barely squeezes by 1,000 yards on the ground, and is actually out-scored by Brown. He’s a waste of a first-round pick.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s the latest roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

In an SI.com video, Peter King compares Chip Kelly to Jimmy Johnson:

You have a guy who everybody in college football looked at as the college guru. You’re right in comparing him to [Steve] Spurrier, but the difference is Chip Kelly is much younger in his career jumping to the NFL than Steve Spurrier was. To me, this reminds me of what Jimmy Johnson was going to do to defense in 1989 with the Dallas Cowboys when he came into the NFL.

That is what I’m looking for, and I don’t know what I’m going to see with Chip Kelly doing to offense in 2013, but their entrances in the game I think are similar. Jimmy was a lot different thinking about the defensive side of the ball, Chip Kelly with a lot of different thoughts on the offensive side of the ball.

Michael Vick offered more thoughts on the QB situation during an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio (via PFT):

“I have no resentment, no disappointment within myself as far as what the situation is right now because the truth of the matter is you gotta compete every day,” Vick said. “You gotta compete on Sundays.  You gotta compete off the field, you gotta compete on the field.  And I understand that and that’s the fun part about the game we play.  If it was easy then it wouldn’t be fun.”

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times offers his pre-camp thoughts on the Eagles:

Coach Chip Kelly wants to know where a quarterback’s eyes are in live action. But to this point, no one can tell where Kelly is looking. Eagles players seem to be assuming Michael Vick will be the starter, although it’s possible Nick Foles could be a better fit for what Kelly wants to do. And rookie Matt Barkley, polished and poised so far, is lurking in the background as a potential down-the-road starter.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com lists his top-10 receiving corps, and the Eagles snag the final spot at No. 10:

Maclin and Jackson have speed to spare, but they fall just shy of No. 1 receiver status. Both players come with durability concerns. The additions of Casey and Ertz suggest versatile and athletic tight ends will be featured heavily in new coach Chip Kelly’s offense.

In an ESPN Insider article, Gary Horton lists his 10 most versatile players. Eagles tight end James Casey comes in at No. 6:

Casey will be the “move” tight end in this offense when he is not lined up at the fullback position. He’s also a really underrated outlet receiver, as evidenced by his 34 receptions for Houston a season ago. Kelly loves players with this kind of versatility, and he will put Casey in a variety of positions and roles.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com ranks all the NFL coaches. He’s got Chip Kelly at No. 26:

He is a bright, forward-thinking coach who will either revolutionize things or head back to college in three years. Can he adapt what he does to the NFL game? If he does, look out. He coaches without fear.

Brian McIntyre of Yahoo Sports takes a look at the Eagles’ salary cap situation:

Barring any extensions this summer, and assuming that none of the current players in the “Top 51″ are released this summer, the Eagles will have well over $15 million in cap space that can be rolled over to 2014. That rollover amount will come in handy as the Eagles’ current “Top 51″ players (including Lane Johnson) signed for 2014 have $125 million in salary cap commitments, plus several players have available base salary escalators.

And finally, DeSean Jackson has a new rap video out featuring Snoop Dogg. Embedded below.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s another roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com takes a look at how the offense will change depending on who the quarterback is. He seems very high on Nick Foles:

Foles’ superior arm strength, velocity and zip are a byproduct not of pure arm talent but of his solid mechanics. Additionally, superb accuracy and touch are the result of his ability to keep his eyes and feet connected in the pocket.

For most young quarterbacks, the speed of the game is overwhelming, and that can create hesitancy at the tops of drops. However, Foles rarely displayed “happy feet” in the pocket last season; his decisiveness led to timely throws within the progression.

ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano lists one offseason regret for each team. Here’s what he’s got for the Eagles:

Spend some money on the secondary. The Eagles were the only NFC East team that had cap room to burn. Even though they needed to improve all four starting positions in the secondary, they chose to go the economical route, bringing in uninspiring cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams and safety Patrick Chung. Former Giant Kenny Phillips is a premium talent at safety, but they got him inexpensively as well, and the reason is a chronic knee problem that could keep him from ever playing for them. New coach Chip Kelly was looking for physical cornerbacks with the ability to tackle, which is fine, and I can understand that the Eagles felt burned by the way the Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie moves of two years ago worked out. But the moves at defensive back feel like half-measures, and you get the feeling they’ll be looking to upgrade the same spots next year. This was a team that should have at least looked into trading for Darrelle Revis, though it would have been hard to justify giving up the No. 4 overall pick in the draft for him.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com names the eight left tackles with the toughest assignments. He’s got Jason Peters at No. 5:

Peters missed last year with an injury, and he returns to a team with a desire to have an up-tempo offense. One of the Eagles’ linemen told me the pace will be tough on the linemen who are not in great shape. Peters might be in for a rude awakening. In division, he has six games against DeMarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul and Brian Orakpo. Outside the division, he faces Von Miller, Clay Matthews, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers. There are big differences with the quarterbacks in Philadelphia. If Michael Vick is under center, no one knows where he will attempt to escape, and he has been sacked 272 times in his career or once every 12 attempts.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com ranks all the teams’ backup QB situations. He’s got the Eagles at No. 6:

Foles, yet another Reid pupil, showed growth last season and has a chance to start in Philly if Vick stumbles.

Sessler also says the Eagles have the fifth-deepest backfield in the league:

Gregg Rosenthal likes the Eagles’ backfield more than I do, but nobody’s debating McCoy’s value. He’s arguably a top-five back and should enjoy a bounce-back season in Chip Kelly’s run-heavy attack. Brown’s four fumbles in four starts were an issue, but he was explosive when he wanted to be. Add Jones to the mix, and all three runners should see work in 2013.

Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld looks at the best- and worst-case scenarios for Michael Vick:

Best Case: Chip Kelly does what Andy Reid, Jim Mora and Dan Reeves couldn’t: Unlock Vick’s full potential. Even as a 33 year old who’s lost a step or two, Vick is a revelation in Kelly’s spread-option attack, showing Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick how it’s done as he cruises to a top-five fantasy finish.

Worst Case: Vick looks old, stubborn and turnover prone in training camp, giving Kelly no choice but to go with the lead-footed Nick Foles at quarterback. The Eagles save $4 million by cutting Vick loose before Week 1.

Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 26th in his preseason power rankings:

With Reid gone, Chip Kelly inherits a roster that’s lately looked better on paper than on the field. But let’s look on the bright side. Can you imagine Kelly’s fast-paced offense with the Eagles’ skill-position players? And let’s consider the Eagles’ division. The NFC East doesn’t  have one team that stands above the rest. Every one of the clubs seems capable of playing that role in a given week, but in recent years, this division has been contested all the way until the end.

Of course, if the Eagles are to be competitive down the stretch, they must improve on their surprisingly poor recent form.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s our weekly roundup of what the media are saying about the Eagles.

Andrew Kulp of the 700 Level thinks Michael Vick can very well make this team as a backup.

For one thing, Vick has given no indication – none – that he would be a malcontent if relegated to the bench. He accepted the same news last season after he was cleared to return from his concussion. He restructured his contract knowing full well there was an open competition for the job. And those comments of his we parsed and dissected until they equated to demanding Chip Kelly name a starter ahead of training camp? 24 hours earlier, Vick sounded determined to contribute in 2013 no matter the outcome.

How exactly is it even beneficial for Vick to demand a trade or his outright release? Any team that is looking for a signal caller in August is typically screwed, and at 33 years of age, Vick’s next chance to start could conceivably be his last. Does he really want to quarterback some directionless franchise while trying to learn a new system and mesh with unfamiliar personnel, or would he prefer to bide his time in Philly, make the most of whatever action he sees, and handpick his next opportunity during the offseason?

Dan Graziano looks at LeSean McCoy from a fantasy perspective.

 As for splitting carries, I’m not buying it as a reason to like these other backs over McCoy. I think Chip Kelly’s going to run the ball a ton. I think Brown will get carries but not nearly as many as McCoy will get. I think there will be enough running plays and short passing plays in the fast-paced, no-huddle, get-the-ball-out-quickly Philadelphia offense that McCoy will get as many touches as any running back in the league, even if Brown gets his own share. I think Brown’s a chronic fumbler who can’t be trusted in big spots, and I think Kelly knows that. I don’t think the Eagles’ quarterback situation is significantly better than those in Kansas City and Buffalo. In short, I love McCoy, especially as a late first-round value pick in fantasy this year.

Michael Fabiano of NFL.com sees big things for No. 25 as well.

New coach Chip Kelly loves to use his running backs on offense, which was apparent in the gangbusters numbers LaMichael James recorded while at Oregon. That’s exciting for the fantasy prospects of McCoy, who is coming off a disappointing 2012 campaign but is now in a position to rebound. He’ll be a first-round pick in most leagues. Brown remains the favorite to back up McCoy even with the addition of Jones, making him worth a late-round look or handcuff for owners with McCoy.

Geoff Mosher believes Riley Cooper is one of several Eagles veterans on the bubble.

Cooper is one of several veteran Eagles who might not be around for the season opener. I have no idea how many receivers Kelly plans to keep, but DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Damaris Johnson can safely be considered locks to make the team. That leaves one or two more openings for a committee that includes Cooper, Arrelious Benn, Ifeanyi Momah, B.J. Cunningham and rookie Russell Shepard. Cooper and Benn can both make the team with impressive camps, but a numbers situation could force Kelly to decide upon one. Benn can play the slot, the outside and has return game experience. He’s a former second-round pick and has the versatility that Kelly covets.

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