Eagles Wake-Up Call: On the 2014 Draft Class

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes from reader Jeffrey via email. He had a lot to say, so I will just paraphrase here to give you the gist:

I was reading your roster projection, and it made me think about what a colossal failure the 2014 draft has been. Other than Jordan Matthews and Beau Allen, it was total trash. Champions pick Pro Bowlers on Day 3 and don’t totally blow first-round picks. Chip Kelly’s player selection in the draft could be his undoing. Would love to hear your thoughts.

We projected roles for rookies last week, so might as well go over second-year players today. Here’s a player-by-player look at where things stand with the guys taken in the 2014 draft.

Marcus Smith, OLB – I have joked all offseason that I’m the only person on his bandwagon if anybody wants to give me company. The truth is there are not a lot of positives to point to so far. Only one first-round pick played fewer snaps than Smith last season. He jumped around from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. And this spring he’s battled a groin injury. Best-case scenario for 2015 is that Smith improves and gets on the field as the third outside linebacker behind Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Maybe he flashes pass-rushing potential, displays his versatility and competes for a starting spot in 2016.

But there are obviously no guarantees that those things happen. Smith has the measurables and appears to have the work ethic. It is just a matter of putting it all together. If he gets beaten out by Travis Long for the No. 3 OLB job, the cries of “bust” will be deafening. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.

Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.

Here’s what we saw during Eagles OTAs on Monday.

12:25 – A shoutout to Andy Reid off the top today. We’ll start with injuries. DeMeco RyansMarcus Smith IIEarl Wolff and Julian Vandervelde are working off to the side. Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles are not here. The Eagles did not provide any reasons why. The OTAs are voluntary.

12:30 – I hate to keep providing video of the defensive linemen, but they are the guys who have been practicing closest to us. Here, they’re working on their pass-rush and their hands with Jerry Azzinaro. Read more »

Eagles Rookie Review: Player-By-Player Breakdown

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Below is a player-by-player look at how the Eagles’ rookie class performed in 2014 and what to expect going forward.

Marcus Smith (1st round, 26th overall)

He got on the field in eight of 16 games. Smith was inactive twice and a DNP-coach’s decision six times. In all, the Eagles’ first-round pick played just 68 snaps all season.

Smith started the season at outside linebacker, but switched to inside linebacker after the Eagles were decimated by injuries. At times, Billy Davis tried to use him in a specialized role in sub packages, but Smith’s head appeared to be spinning, and that experiment didn’t last. Read more »

For His Mom, Beau Allen Opens Up

IMG_7394                                                     (Courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)

Thanks to a most timely bye week, Beau Allen was able to travel back to the Twin Cities to be with his mother, Susie, for her 50th birthday. Now gainfully employed by the Philadelphia Eagles, the 22-year-old was able to treat his folks to dinner for the first time.

“We spent a lot of money and he was just proud and thrilled to take us out for my birthday celebration,” Susie said.

The 50-year mark holds extra significance in the Allen family. Susie’s dad died at the age of 46 from a pulmonary embolism a week after falling out of a tree while deer hunting. Her mom passed away two years later following a battle with cancer at the age of 49.

“My [older] siblings are always joking, when the baby makes it to 50 they’ll be very happy. So I made it,” said Susie.

There was a time, however, where it looked like she might not.
Read more »

Eagles Add Pistol To Toolbox For 2014

pistol_940

Chip Kelly believes his job is to provide players with answers.

If he hasn’t armed them with solutions to their on-field problems, he has come up short as a coach.

Last year, there were many answers as the Eagles had one of the top offenses in the league, setting franchise records in points, yards and a number of other categories. There were occasions, though, where opposing defensive coordinators stymied the Birds’ attack.

So the offseason has been about adding layers to the offense. The foundation remains the same: spread ‘em out and run the ball until the opponent forces you to do something else. But there will be new wrinkles added in 2014. Some might be obvious in four days when the Eagles host the Jaguars. We might not see others until November or later, depending on the rhythm of the season.

Either way, it seems likely that one of the wrinkles revealed itself in the preseason: the pistol. Read more »

Players Answer: Which Eagle Is Ready To Break Out?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

We recently took the pulse of the Eagles’ locker room, asking a simple question: Which of your teammates has impressed you this summer and is primed for a big/breakout season?

Some players couldn’t name just one or two. Others identified half the roster. We removed those responses and were left with 19 answers. They are listed below. Read more »

‘Papa Bair’ Making His Case For Roster Spot

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It was easy last year for Brandon Bair to go unnoticed.

He signed on to the Eagles’ practice squad in September, reuniting with his college coaches Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro. Bair was one of the players capable of going about his business in the locker room without being bothered.

Even last night after the team’s win over the Steelers, a couple reporters spotted him packing up his stuff and asked each other: “That’s Brandon Bair, right?”

But there’s a sense that things are about to change for the 29-year-old, given how well he has played this preseason. Against Pittsburgh, he was credited with a pair of batted passes and continued to be active against the run. Kelly consistently preaches that the Eagles’ defensive linemen are not just responsible for eating up blocks. He expects them to shed blocks and get to the ball-carrier. That’s something Bair has done consistently all preseason long. Read more »

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