DeMeco Ryans Coming Back, Says Kelly

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Amid all the big-picture topics Chip Kelly discussed on Wednesday, there was a smaller roster note that is worth mentioning.

Asked if DeMeco Ryans will be returning, Kelly said point blank that he would be.

“I like having really good football players,” he said. “So you have no idea. Mychal [Kendricks] missed some games last year, DeMeco missed games last year. Kiko [Alonso] has missed games. We’re trying to accumulate as many good football players as we can is what we’re trying to do.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Who Is Kiko Alonso?

Kiko Alonso. Melina Vastola / USA Today

Kiko Alonso. Melina Vastola / USA Today

During the 2013 season, Chip Kelly was asked about his former Oregon linebacker, Kiko Alonso.

“I take extra pride that I had an opportunity to coach Kiko,” Kelly said. “He’s awesome. I think everything that people are seeing in Buffalo is what I’ve known about him all along is that [he’s an] extremely dedicated, driven person both academically and athletically. He was a great student too. Over a 3.0 student.

“He made a couple missteps early in his career and really changed. I think he understood the opportunities that he has in front of him and everything that is happening to him now. I don’t know if it surprises other people, it doesn’t surprise me. Kiko is a special player. When you watch him on film, it’s Kiko see ball, Kiko tackle ball. We saw that at Oregon a lot. I think people in Buffalo are seeing that right now.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Talent Better Suited For a 4-3?

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Today’s question comes from Silvio on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page:

Two of our best young defenders (Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham) are better fits for a 4-3 scheme, and we are underusing them and risking losing them. Also, Trent Cole and probably Fletcher Cox are more suitable to a 4-3, while only Connor Barwin is a true 3-4 player. If the target is maximizing your talent, does it make any sense keeping this odd front?

Thanks for the question, Silvio. I actually think the job the coaching staff has done with the front seven in the past two years has been the biggest success story on defense. Read more »

Eagles Offseason Outlook: Inside Linebacker

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles

Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. We have covered the quarterbacks, wide receiversrunning backs, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line and outside linebackers so far. Now it’s on to the inside linebackers.

STATE OF THE ROSTER

The Eagles have quite a few decisions to make at this spot. The starters at the beginning of last year were DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

Despite missing four games, Kendricks finished second on the team with 108 tackles, according to stats kept by the coaches. He had four sacks, three hurries, two passes batted down and three forced fumbles in what was an extremely productive year.

Ryans was playing well also before suffering an Achilles’ injury during the Texans game on Nov. 2. It’s the second time he’s suffered the injury, and at the age of 30, he’s looking at another offseason of rehab. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Impact Of DeMeco’s Absence

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Today’s question comes from reader Eric, via e-mail:

My suggestion for morning post topic: the impact of DeMeco Ryans’ injury on the collapse of the secondary.

Many people say Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews were serviceable backups. But is it possible that, while they performed specific tasks at an acceptable level, them not being Ryans had a trickle-down impact on our CB and safety play? E.g. quality of play calls identification and assignments (accuracy, speed of identifying and communicating, etc.)? Or them being a little slower to the quarterback resulting in less pressure? Or them being less surer tackles necessitating the safeties scheming/hedging toward the run game?

Please do not take the above as any indication that I think Nate Allen and Bradley Fletcher aren’t godawful. It’s just – they dramatically fell off a cliff the end of the year, and I’m looking for reasons beyond “general suckiness.” Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Here is a rundown of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

ESPN.com teamed up with Pro Football Focus to figure out how close each team is to competing in the Super Bowl. Despite the Eagles missing the playoffs, the analysis suggested the team is just two players away from getting to the title game. Phil Sheridan notes the positions the Eagles could improve heading into next season:

Secondary: The Eagles’ pass defense truly broke down in the last month of the season. Opposing quarterbacks completed 61 percent of their passes for 1,177 yards and six touchdowns in December. During the three-game losing streak that knocked Philly out of the playoffs, the Eagles allowed 14 pass plays of more than 20 yards, the second-most in the league. Half the secondary starters — CB Bradley Fletcher and S Nate Allen — are scheduled to become free agents. A third, cornerback Cary Williams, could be on his way out, thanks to his $8.1 million cap number. Whether it’s through free agency or the draft, this beleaguered unit is in need of a major overhaul. Seattle’s Byron Maxwell would be worth a look. Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Giants

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina - USA Today

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina – USA Today

Instead of doing a true Eagles-Giants scouting report, we’ll take a look at the offseason/future with this week’s piece.

WHEN THE EAGLES PASS…

Turnovers have been the issue all season. The Eagles have given the ball away on 18.2 percent of their drives; that’s the worst mark in the NFL. Quarterback play has been a problem throughout.

Mark Sanchez is completing 64.1 percent of his passes (13th) and averaging 7.79 YPA (sixth). But his 3.7 percent interception rate is fifth-worst among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 200 passes. Only Kirk Cousins, Josh McCown, Blake Bortles and Geno Smith have been worse.

Asked how Nick Foles’ injury clouds the offseason outlook at quarterback, Chip Kelly said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll sit down and thoroughly evaluate everything. But it’s no different than any other position when you look at it. You just tell us what we have available right now we’ll take a look at it, let’s detail it, let’s go through the film again, let’s put our heads together, let’s get everybody’s opinion on it and make valid decisions. I don’t think we can look back and say this clouds this, this doesn’t cloud this. It doesn’t matter how much it clouds or doesn’t cloud. That’s the reality of it. He got hurt, so we have to make decisions moving forward in terms of what we’re going to do.” Read more »

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