Several notable Eagles stories to start off the week: Read more »
The Eagles and Vinny Curry have agreed to a five-year deal worth $47.25 million, with $23 million guaranteed.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer was the first person to report the deal. Birds 24/7’s Tim McManus has since confirmed that Curry has signed the deal.
Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson will be the next Eagles head coach, a league source confirms to Birds 24/7’s Tim McManus. The Philadelphia Daily News’ Les Bowen first tweeted the news.
“We have concluded our search for a head coach,” an Eagles spokesman said. “No further interviews are scheduled.” Read more »
Jeffrey Lurie called Pat Shurmur down to his office on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after meeting with Chip Kelly to inform the Eagles’ former head coach he was being let go.
News of Kelly’s firing hadn’t yet traveled to Shurmur’s ear; he was confused by why he was being called down to Lurie’s office.
“It’s not very often you get called down to the owner’s office,” Shurmur said Thursday.
Shurmur walked into Lurie’s office and didn’t seem to be cued in on the news.
“He said, ‘Well, you haven’t heard, have you?'” Shurmur said. “I said, “No, I haven’t.” Then he told me he had let Coach Kelly go.”
Lurie asked Shurmur if he would be the interim head coach for the team’s final week and game, against the Giants this Sunday, and Shurmur agreed.
Marcus Smith picked up a half-sack in the Eagles’ 40-17 loss to the Cardinals in Week 15. For most first-round draft picks playing in their second season in the league, that would be an encouraging, albeit run-of-the-mill, tick in the box score.
For Smith, it was the first time he recorded even half a sack in his career.
After two seasons, Smith has shown few signs that he is close to stepping into any sort of consistent defensive role on this team.
“Marcus has got to continue to get better,” Billy Davis said Tuesday. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of production yet. We’re still working, Marcus is working hard at it, and hopefully we can get some production from him.
“You have to play the guys that are playing the best for you. If there’s too big of a gap, the other guys can’t play. Right now, it’s tough to take [Connor Barwin] or [Brandon Graham] off and put Marcus on.”
But that’s not how Smith sees it.
After a historically bad stretch of defense helped lock the Eagles out of the playoffs for the second straight year, Billy Davis‘ job security is tenuous.
Before Tuesday’s practice, Davis was asked if he believes he’ll be back next season to help the team fix its woe begotten defense.
“I am, yes,” Davis said, when asked if he’s confident he will return.
Jordan Matthews talked extensively after the Eagles’ loss Saturday night about his team’s deficiencies. Drops. Bad blocking. Blown touchdown opportunities.
But, he insisted, Chip Kelly should not be blamed.
“Players play, and we didn’t play well. Coach Kelly can’t go out there and catch passes. He can’t go out there and tuck the ball. He just has to put guys in position to make plays,” Matthews said. “That’s all a coach is supposed to do: put you in positions to be one-on-one or put you in positions to make plays. And when you don’t do that, it’s not coach Kelly’s fault. That’s ours. We’re out there on the field so we got to go make that happen.” Read more »
We’re nearing the end of Year 3, and the defense is still not right.
The Eagles have dedicated 15 of their 21 draft picks to defensive players under Chip Kelly. They reconstructed the roster this offseason in part to funnel more resources towards that side of the ball; rebuilt the secondary and invested $25 million in guaranteed money in Byron Maxwell and another $2 million in Walter Thurmond to bolster the back end this offseason.
Yet the desired growth has not been achieved. After a strong start in which the Eagles were near the top in many of the key categories, they have since experienced a sharp drop in production. Through 14 games, they are now 30th in opponent rushing yards/attempt (4.5), 27th in points per game (25.9) and last in red zone efficiency (69 percent TD rate).
There are bright spots, for sure, from the development of guys like Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan to their overall success rate creating turnovers (they’re tied for sixth with 25 on the season). And, given the offense they play opposite of, the numbers can get skewed so proper context is needed when evaluating their performance. (Football Outsiders, which dives deeper into the numbers, has the Eagles defense ranked 13th in the NFL, their offense 27th).
But safe to say this unit has not risen to the level of the elite, and as the weeks and seasons begin to pile up without the defense reaching its desired goal, the more scrutiny Davis faces.
As a football lifer who served as a ball boy for Dick Vermeil’s Eagles (his dad was an assistant) and has coached in this league since 1992, Davis knows the drill. He’s worked for nine different clubs; has been on good teams and bad ones; has risen to the ranks of coordinator three times, and has been fired twice.
During our one-on-one with him this week, we asked Davis about his current mind frame, job stability, the state of the defense, and the never-ending climb up the NFL’s “slippery slope”: Read more »
Jaylen Watkins made his debut in Billy Davis’ defense in the Eagles’ Week 17 matchup with the Giants last season, when the team finished its campaign with the same one-two divisional punch it faces this year.
Watkins stepped in for benched cornerback Bradley Fletcher and performed adequately, if inefficiently. He recorded three tackles and a pass defensed, but Odell Beckham Jr. and Reuben Randle racked up a combined 18 catches and 243 yards, including Beckham’s 63-yard touchdown catch.
But Watkins, who spent the entirety of 2014 on the Eagles’ active roster, said Tuesday his time with the team last season, however limited and unproductive, played a big role in his ability to step into the lineup and contribute against the Cardinals.