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 »
Here is a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week. Read more »
This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line and outside linebackers. Now let’s tackle inside linebackers. Read more »
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 »
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 »
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 »
From mock drafts to Johnny Manziel buzz to the latest on Bill Lazor, here’s what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
And if you missed the season finale of Birds 24/7 on 97.5 The Fanatic, click here for the podcast. We broke down what went wrong against the Saints and looked ahead to the offseason.
Read more »
With the 2013 season in the books, Connor Barwin could finally admit it: He had some doubts about this defense after the Eagles got off to a slow start and gave up 52 points to the Broncos in Week 4.
“Maybe a little bit, but I wouldn’t share it with you or anybody,” he said at his locker earlier this week. “Yeah, there were a couple weeks that looked a little… but obviously you really did believe in Billy [Davis]. Billy came in and said the right things, and I was like, ‘Alright man, I trust this guy.’ And he was exactly right. We kept our head down and kept working and gradually got better and better.”
After the Broncos game, the Eagles’ defense went on a nice little run, limiting opponents to 21 points or fewer in 11 of 13 games. There were stumbles along the way, and the defense didn’t exactly finish strong – getting picked apart in Week 15 against the Vikings and struggling in the second half against New Orleans. But overall, most would agree this unit exceeded expectations. Read more »
When asked why he was so confident that his program could work in the NFL, Chip Kelly offered a somewhat surprising response.
“I wasn’t confident,” he said. “I had a system and a plan that we were going to go in, but I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be until it was all finished. But I think we played sound fundamental football, and I think that’s what we preach on a daily basis to our players. I think it’s still a game of 11-on-11, and I think a lot of things we do schematically match up 11-on-11. It’s a fundamental game, and I think that’s what our coaches teach. I thought we brought in a bunch of really good teachers that could implement the plan that we had in place, and we felt this would be the best plan for us this year going forward.”
Going into next season, new faces will be added, but many of the core players from the 2013 squad will remain the same.
Keeping that in mind, I posed one simple question to the players earlier this week as they cleaned out their lockers:
What did Kelly do in Year One that makes you believe he can lead this franchise to greater heights going forward? Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defensive performance against Dallas after having watched the coaches tape.
* This group limited DeMarco Murray to 51 yards on 17 carries (3.0 YPC). Cedric Thornton probably had the best game of any of the linemen. He combined with Bennie Logan to stop Murray after a 3-yard run in the first half. In the third, Thornton and Brandon Boykin dropped Murry for a 4-yard loss, putting Dallas in a tough third-down spot. Thornton finished with two tackles.
* Fletcher Cox was quiet – one tackle, no sacks, no hurries. Logan had three tackles. He pressured Kyle Orton and helped force him into a bad throw in the second.
* All three starting defensive linemen jumped early once, drawing flags. Read more »