Eagles Weekend Reading: Cooper’s Bad Contract

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here are some Eagles links to check out this weekend.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland names his “All-Bad Contract Team” and includes three Eagles: DeMarco MurrayByron Maxwell and Riley Cooper. Here’s the writeup on Cooper:

Cooper might actually fit all four of the criteria for a bad contract, which would be a rare sweep. The Eagles gave him a five-year, $22.5 million deal last offseason on the strength of what was honestly a pretty underwhelming season; 47 catches for 835 yards and eight scores as a full-time starter in a high-powered attack like Philadelphia’s just isn’t that impressive. Even worse, he really had only three big games that season, and the biggest (139 yards, three touchdowns) came against the lowly Raiders. And this is all without considering his infamous moment of off-field racism. He responded by catching 55 passes for 577 yards as a full-time starter last year, and with the Eagles having shifted their spending on offense toward running backs, Cooper will be stuck in a meaningful role again in 2015.

Read more »

Chip Leftovers: On Measurables, Howie And the Fans

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

Here are three leftovers from our pre-training camp session with Chip Kelly.

1. We’ve written at length in this space about the Eagles’ focus on measurables when it comes to scouting. Prior to the draft, Ed Marynowitz went into detail about the organization’s three-pronged approach. One thing he mentioned is that the Eagles want their backups to look like their starters.

That’s something Kelly expanded on when we spoke with him.

“I think that just shows you have a plan,” Kelly said. “I think some people just grasp at straws when all of a sudden you have a 6-6, 250-pound quarterback backed up by a 5-10, 175-pound kid that’s a run-around guy. I think you’re trying to get people that fit into your system, and that’s why you have height and weight and speed parameters that fit your system.” Read more »

Mayock: Regardless Of QB, Eagles Will Make The Playoffs

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

NFL analyst Mike Mayock joined the Mike Missanelli show this week to offer his thoughts on the 2015 Eagles. Even with some question marks surrounding the quarterback position, he is bullish on what this team can accomplish in the regular season.

“Regardless of who plays quarterback this year, I think they’re going to make the playoffs,” Mayock proclaimed. “I think the differentiation of the quarterback position starts in the playoffs when you play quality defenses every week.”

Mayock believes Sam Bradford‘s struggles in St. Louis were due to an unimpressive supporting cast and feels he will fit in much better in Chip Kelly‘s offense.

“I think they have a better offensive line than [Bradford] is used to and I think they’re going to run the hell out of the football,” said Mayock. “Last year, there were only three teams in the league that ran the ball more than they passed the ball and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles were one of those teams this year.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: QB Training Camp Preview

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Leading up to training camp on August 2, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We’ve covered the running backswide receivers, tight ends and the offensive line so far. Today, we’ll take a look at the quarterbacks.

The pressing question: Will there be a legitimate QB competition during camp and the preseason?

The answer is yes. You’ll hear some suggest that Chip Kelly didn’t give up a second-round pick and Nick Foles to pay Sam Bradford $13 million as a backup quarterback. And in a general sense, that’s true. The Eagles acquired Bradford to be the starter.

But as we’ve discussed before, Kelly’s entire operation is based on competition, and if Mark Sanchez clearly outperforms Bradford in August, he’ll be the one getting the nod in Week 1 against the Falcons. It really is that simple with Kelly.

“I think it’s always an open competition,” Kelly said last month. “You still have to go out and earn your jobs. If Sam throws 14 interceptions and Mark throws 14 touchdowns, I can’t sit there and tell the team that Sam’s going to start and Mark’s not going to start. It doesn’t work that way.” Read more »

Kelly: We Weren’t Close Last Year

Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

On Thanksgiving night last year, the local fan base was feeling pretty good about its football team.

The Eagles had just hammered the Cowboys 33-10, and with a 9-3 record, the playoffs seemed like a near certainty.

But even at that point, Chip Kelly says he already knew the team had holes that needed to be addressed. The Eagles lost three of their last four, but per Kelly, it wasn’t just that final stretch that led to the dramatic offseason changes.

“I knew we had to get better as a team,” Kelly said during a session with reporters last month. “And I think in this league, it’s almost year to year. Teams don’t stay up or down, either way. …And I didn’t feel we were close at the end of the year.

“10-6, not going to the playoffs, is just like being 4-12.” Read more »

With Sam Bradford, Chip Kelly Believes Odds Are In His Favor

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

A risk, maybe, but the way Chip Kelly looks at it, the odds are in his favor.

Before breaking for the summer, the Eagles head coach sat down with reporters for an hour-long roundtable session. As you would imagine, Sam Bradford was a pretty popular topic of conversation.

“We looked at everything, and we knew we weren’t going to pick No. 1 or No. 2. So, and I’ve said it before, if you’re not going to pick one or two, how do you go get a quarterback?” said Kelly, explaining the thought process heading into this offseason. “Peyton Manning switched teams because of an injury. Drew Brees switched teams because of an injury. So we went down that path.”

When it came to Bradford, the Eagles doctors consulted with the St. Louis trainers and the those that performed the surgery. The word they received was that the 27-year-old, coming off the second tear of his left ACL in less than a year’s time, “was fine” and “was progressing.” Further, there was no cartilage issues in the knee. On both occasions, it was just the ACL that was damaged.

The Eagles did their own independent research as well and reached the conclusion that when it comes to ACLs, there is a 10-to-12 percent chance of re-injury.

“So that’s an 88-to-90 percent chance that they’re going to be successful,” said Kelly. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Defending the Changes

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.

David Murphy of the Daily News thinks Chip Kelly’s drastic moves were necessary for the Eagles to compete in 2015:

The point, then, is this: The Redskins made significant improvements to their defense. The Giants and Cowboys didn’t get any worse (at least until the Fourth of July), and they likely got at least marginally better (with the potential for significant improvements out of some young players). If all three teams in the division aren’t any worse defensively than they were last year, which is true, and at least one is significantly better, which is true, and if the Eagles went 10-6 and failed to win the division last year, which is true, then it would make sense to conclude that the Eagles’ best course of action wasn’t sitting back and hoping that the gang would pull through if given another go-around. Read more »

What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Here is a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Peter King of MMQB lists Sam Bradford’s progress as one of the most interesting stories heading into training camp:

Chip Kelly better know what he’s doing. (Somehow, I don’t think that’s the first time that’s been said this off-season.) In the 31 months since New Year’s Day 2013, Bradford, the first pick in the 2010 draft, has played seven football games. He’s lost four. His 2013 and 2014 seasons were both ended by a torn ACL. Kelly acquired Bradford from the Rams in March, then tried like crazy to trade for Marcus Mariota six weeks later. And so this is a mildly important training camp for Bradford. And for Kelly.

NFL Analyst Mike Mayock praised Kelly’s offseason moves:

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt they’re better,” Mayock said. “Again, they were 22nd in points allowed last year and they gave up all kinds of yards. They’re gonna get better on defense and if they take care of the ball on offense, run the ball with DeMarco—we keep forgetting about DeMarco Murray and running the football again. Run the ball, take care of Sam Bradford. Yeah, I think they’re a better football team.” Read more »

Eagles Weekend Reading: On Chip, the RBs And More

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend:

Field Yates of ESPN.com listed the Eagles running backs as one of the top-five offensive position groups in the NFL:

The Eagles acquired [Darren] Sproles prior to the 2014 season for a fifth-rounder, and that proved to be quite the bargain. He provided immediate impact as a pass-catching phenom, constantly creating mismatches in open space. [DeMarco] Murray and [Ryan] Mathews came at a heftier price tag in free agency this offseason, but each brings obvious value to the Eagles’ backfield. Murray was the best back in football for much of 2014, showing off excellent vision and acceleration behind the aforementioned Cowboys line. Mathews, meanwhile, has the churning leg power to move piles, along with an ability to make defenders miss in the hole. They both come with injury baggage: Last year was Murray’s first season staying healthy for 16 games, and Mathews has missed 18 games in five seasons, including 10 in 2014. But the one-two punch should provide insurance of sorts for each other. Philly traded away an extraordinary talent in LeSean McCoy this offseason, but the ground game should keep cooking.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz thinks a contract extension for Fletcher Cox needs to happen soon:

There is some thought that you don’t pay 3-4 DEs big money. Their job is mostly to 2-gap. Find an athletic DT and move  him to DE, ala Cedric Thornton. You can get several years of good play for minimal money. Go spend big money on LBs since they are the true life blood of the 3-4. Read more »

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