Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz both joined Anthony Gargano on 97.5 the Fanatic on Wednesday to discuss the Eagles.
Schwartz talked about his defensive philosophy and plans at length, while Schefter touched on the Birds’ upcoming offseason and their plans for handling free agency.
Of everything discussed, two points from Schefter stuck out as key holding points for the Eagles going forward.
For one, Schefter said that Fletcher Cox isn’t going anywhere.
“He’s not going anywhere, they’ll never allow him to leave,” Schefter said.
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Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images
We reached to some players (both former and current) to get their thoughts on the Doug Pederson hire. Here’s what they had to say. Read more »
Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. (USA Today Sports)
Searching for a head coach who can lead your team to a Super Bowl is an inexact science. Championship caliber coaches have come from all kinds of backgrounds, which is why — despite the Chip Kelly era — Jeffrey Lurie won’t rule out any type of coach, even those from college with no professional experience.
“No category is diminished here,” Lurie said the day after he fired Kelly. “We’re going to look at NFL coaches, NFL coordinators, college coaches, retired coaches — any category you can come up with, if we think it’s the best candidate.”
Although there may not be a prototype you can model the best head coaches after, we looked at the last 10 Super Bowl-winning coaches to seek similarities. Those coaches are Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, John Harbaugh, Tom Coughlin, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, and Jon Gruden. Read more »
Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)
As the Eagles begin their search for a new head coach, candidates will care about the franchise’s new power structure, what kind of owner Jeffrey Lurie is, and what the city of Philadelphia is like. But what they’ll really want to know about is the talent on the roster and the salary cap situation.
Adam broke down the offense, and I’m taking a look at the defense. The position guys play could change based off the scheme the new head coach implements, but we’ll categorize players by where they fit in Billy Davis’s 3-4.
(All contract information is via Spotrac, including the 2016 dead cap numbers.) Read more »
Brandon Graham. (Jeff Fusco)
Brandon Graham was clear today after practice when explaining what he’s looking for in the Eagles’ next head coach.
“I’m hoping that we get somebody that’s already been in the NFL,” he said.
Chip Kelly, of course, did not fit that bill, and Graham explained why college coaches sometimes face a tough transition. Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
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.
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Billy Davis. (Jeff Fusco)
It was a laughing matter. Literally.
Tim and I explained in last week’s Press Coverage how the Eagles would need to generate a good pass rush and force turnovers against Tom Brady to pull off the unlikely upset over the Patriots. How unlikely? We treated it more as a joke than as something that could actually happen.
But Billy Davis’ unit, after allowing 90 points in the previous two weeks, helped do just that as their four sacks and two interceptions played a pivotal role in Philadelphia’s 35-28 win.
“It’s a tough place to go in,” Davis said. “First of all, I thought the players did a great job. They showed a lot of character, being in the hole we were in the last two weeks and them fighting through it and having that challenge of going in there to beat Brady and Coach [Bill] Belichick in Foxborough is a big deal.
“A big part of it was the three- and four-man rush winning there and the cover guys just holding. We knew we were going to get our share of their passing game. That’s what they do and that’s what their strength is. In the last couple weeks, we were not having much success in that area and the guys stepped up and made a lot of plays.” Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
Chip Kelly mentioned Brandon Graham as one of the veterans he seeks out when he wants to take the temperature of the locker room, listing him alongside the likes of Connor Barwin, Malcolm Jenkins, DeMeco Ryans, Jason Kelce and Jason Peters.
“Chip does a great job as far as trying to keep us together and keeping in contact with the guys that…[have] a voice, and that will lead this team that people respect,” said Graham. “I think Chip is doing a great job, we just have to hone in all together and just make sure we stay close.”
That’s been one of the challenges in recent days after a pair of startling losses to the Bucs and Lions that has tested the foundation of this team and the relationships inside the locker room. Part of the internal strain was tied to uncertainty regarding the future of the head coach. To help stem the tide, Kelly reportedly addressed the college reports, and told the players Tuesday morning that “as long as they have me here, I’m here.”
Graham, for his part, tried to offer similar assurances to Kelly, who has come under some serious scrutiny of late. Read more »
Chip Kelly. (Jeff Fusco)
Nolan Carroll stood despondent at his locker after the Eagles’ 45-17 loss to the Buccaneers yesterday. Defensive backs coach Cory Undlin approached his cornerback, put his left hand on Carroll’s shirtless back and asked, “You alright?”
“Yeah,” Carroll responded, as if he was trying to convince himself and not only Undlin.
The scene around the rest of the Eagles locker room was quite similar. Lane Johnson sat in a small black chair in front of his locker looking at the ground, saying the Eagles’ offense “imploded.” Connor Barwin stood with his hands on his hips and added that the defense “sh-t the bed.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
Brandon Graham felt he was getting too predictable with his pass rush, so he went with the old “butt and shed” to twice get the better of Tyron Smith Sunday.
“I watched the last game I played and I was like, ‘Man, I keep going down the middle of him, and that’s what he wants.’ I knew that he was going to play the bull [rush], so I just ‘butt and shed’. As soon as I butt him and he sit down, shed right off of him and just kind of throw my arms down, and it was working,”said Graham, his grin growing as he recalled the moment. “The first time I was kind of shocked.
“When you see the quarterback, it’s the best feeling you’ve ever felt, man.”
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