Twitter Mailbag: More Eagles On the Move?

Eagles LBs Casey Matthews and Brandon Graham laughing
For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

I believe Brandon Graham is the most likely candidate to get dealt. The Eagles recognize that he is best suited as a 4-3 defensive end and are open to moving him if the right offer comes along. 

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Spelling DeMeco

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

The number for DeMeco Ryans last year was 1,156.

That’s how many snaps he played, the most of any linebacker in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.

“I think if you ask DeMeco, he felt as fresh as he’s ever felt in his career,” said Chip Kelly last month. “But I think it’s a byproduct of how we practiced and prepared for him to be that way.”

Ryans is a Kelly favorite – a true professional who practices, trains and studies hard. But the truth is he did play too many snaps last year. And there were a few reasons for that. Number one, Billy Davis was installing a brand new defense and needed someone to direct a young group up front. That was Ryans’ job. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: ‘We Don’t Want To Force Anything’

NFL: Combine

When it comes to adding new pieces, NFL personnel people often fear the unknown.

The condition usually stems from past mistakes: wasting money on a player who didn’t fit, reaching on a draft pick who failed to pan out, etc.

The draft requires the most challenging projections. But free agency, in theory, should be easier. Coaches and GMs can watch as much tape as they want of the players going up against pro-level competition; they can talk to guys who have coached or played alongside the free agent; and they should be able to get a decent idea of how they’re spending their money.

But, as Howie Roseman often points out, it’s still an arranged marriage. Until the player and team are living under the same roof and get to know each other up close and personal, there is a degree of uncertainty.

That’s one of the reasons the organization has been sending out signals for weeks indicating it’s not going to make a big splash in free agency. In some ways, Roseman sounds a bit gun-shy after what happened in the summer of 2011. Read more »

Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

USATSI_nick-foles-pro-bowl-hands-Kirby Lee-USA-TODAY-Sports

You know the drill. Here are three Eagles numbers that matter.

4 – The number of “close” interceptions by Nick Foles in 2013, as charted by Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders (via ESPN Insider). We know that Foles only threw two interceptions in 317 pass attempts during the regular season for a ridiculously low rate of 0.6 percent. But a fair question is: How much of that was luck, and how much of that was good decision-making?

Per Kascmar’s research, Foles didn’t need a lot of luck in this category. He charted zero dropped interceptions by opponents. The four close INTs included: one that DeSean Jackson broke up against the Cardinals; one that was negated by a questionable holding penalty against Arizona; and one against Green Bay where two defenders ran into each other. Read more »

Three Eagles Leftovers

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From Connor Barwin’s role to Chip Kelly’s love for DeMeco Ryans to Cary Williams’ future, here are three Eagles leftovers.

1. The Eagles’ two outside linebacker positions were not created equal in 2013. Trent Cole made the transition from defensive end, usually lining up on the right side. Barwin’s spot was labeled the “jack” by Billy Davis, as in jack of all trades. That meant Barwin usually lined up on the left side and dropped back into coverage far more often than Cole.

According to Pro Football Focus, Barwin dropped 42.3 percent of the time on passing downs and rushed the QB 57.7 percent of the time.

“I can do it so it fits my skill set and I’m fine with it,” Barwin said last week. “Whatever way Billy [Davis] wants to use me. And I’m sure, who knows how it’ll evolve next year? I could see myself being in a similar role or I could see it being different. It just matters how this defensive evolves, what happens. But I don’t mind at all. I think it makes our defense better. I think Billy did a great job of utilizing the talent that we had.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: DeMeco Debunks Tempo Theory

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

DeMeco Ryans played more snaps than any other inside linebacker in the league during the regular season.

Connor Barwin held the same distinction among 3-4 outside linebackers. And Cary Williams played more snaps than any other cornerback.

While cleaning out his locker last week, Ryans was asked if that’s just the expectation going forward playing for Chip Kelly and his up-tempo offense.

“I hate to say that because that’s not the plan,” Ryans said with a laugh. “It’s definitely not the plan to play those many snaps.”

A popular theory (and one we’ve tackled before in this space) goes like this: The Eagles’ offense moved fast. It didn’t always score, and when it did, it scored quickly. As a result, opponents got more possessions per game than they otherwise would have. And that’s why the Eagles’ defense was on the field so much.

The only problem? The numbers don’t back up the theory. Read more »

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