Eagles Wake-Up Call: Remaining Roster Battles

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Roster trimming is underway. The Eagles released 12 players – including G.J. Kinne and Kevin Graf — on Sunday, leaving the count at 78 (or 76 if you factor in pending injury designations for JaCorey Shepherd and Emmanuel Acho). That number needs to be at 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday and 53 by Saturday afternoon.

“I think we have more depth, so I believe we’ll cut some players that will make other rosters.  I’m hoping,” said Chip Kelly prior to Saturday’s game. “But it is going to be difficult and we’ll have to sit down long and hard after this Packer game and ‑‑ when it’s difficult to get to 75, I think from a coaching standpoint that’s a good thing, but there is still a human factor that gets involved with cutting somebody, and that part is not a lot of fun.”

There are some tough decisions ahead in the coming days. Let’s take a position-by-position look at potential roster battles heading into Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets. Read more »

What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s a roundup of what the local and national media are saying about the Eagles:

Peter King of MMQB.com paid Chip Kelly a visit and asked him about the negative perceptions he’s dealt with this offseason:

Then [Kelly] quoted two people. He said Phil Jackson once said that if you want to be liked, don’t get into coaching. “Then there’s the Mike Schmidt quote,” Kelly said.

Which one?

“He said, ‘Philadelphia is the only town where you can experience the thrill of victory, then the agony of reading about it the next day,’” Kelly said. “It’s part of the territory, and rightly so. These people [media people] are awesome. It’s an unbelievably competitive market. New York has two teams so they gotta go to the Giants and the Jets. Here, there’s one team.”

Read more »

Kelly: Not Concerned About Parkey

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Cody Parkey had a shaky outing Sunday against the Colts. The second-year kicker misfired wide-right on a 34-yard field goal, and also failed to convert on an extra point attempt. Chip Kelly did not sound concerned when addressing the media afterwards.

“No, we are not,” said Kelly, when asked if he was planning on bringing in competition at kicker. “I mean, he was an All‑Pro Bowl kicker last year. In his first exhibition game, he missed an extra point and a field goal. He’s hit three from 40, too. I wouldn’t push the panic button right now.

“I mean, let’s not go crazy now. He’s a pretty good kicker. Hey, he’s a Pro Bowler. I’ve seen Pro Bowlers miss kicks. I’ve seen Adam [Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri] ‑‑ Adam is a Hall of Fame kicker — I’ve seen him miss kicks before, too. Let’s not hit the panic button on Cody right now.  We are in the first preseason game.”

Added Parkey: “I think everybody is human, everyone misses a kick here or there. It’s obviously pretty embarrassing to go out there and miss two in the first game. It sucks for me to do it, and I’m just going to go out there next week and do better.”

Read more »

Marcus Smith, Ed Reynolds ‘Show Up’ In Win

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Chip Kelly used the same turn of phrase when asked separately about Ed Reynolds and Marcus Smith in his post-game press conference.

“He showed up today,” Kelly said about both his first and fifth-rounds picks from last year.

Both players are starting to show signs of life after quiet starts to their respective careers in Philadelphia. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: On the 2014 Draft Class

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes from reader Jeffrey via email. He had a lot to say, so I will just paraphrase here to give you the gist:

I was reading your roster projection, and it made me think about what a colossal failure the 2014 draft has been. Other than Jordan Matthews and Beau Allen, it was total trash. Champions pick Pro Bowlers on Day 3 and don’t totally blow first-round picks. Chip Kelly’s player selection in the draft could be his undoing. Would love to hear your thoughts.

We projected roles for rookies last week, so might as well go over second-year players today. Here’s a player-by-player look at where things stand with the guys taken in the 2014 draft.

Marcus Smith, OLB – I have joked all offseason that I’m the only person on his bandwagon if anybody wants to give me company. The truth is there are not a lot of positives to point to so far. Only one first-round pick played fewer snaps than Smith last season. He jumped around from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. And this spring he’s battled a groin injury. Best-case scenario for 2015 is that Smith improves and gets on the field as the third outside linebacker behind Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Maybe he flashes pass-rushing potential, displays his versatility and competes for a starting spot in 2016.

But there are obviously no guarantees that those things happen. Smith has the measurables and appears to have the work ethic. It is just a matter of putting it all together. If he gets beaten out by Travis Long for the No. 3 OLB job, the cries of “bust” will be deafening. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Second-Year Leap

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Today’s question comes from reader Steve, via e-mail.

I remember hearing that Chip Kelly doesn’t like to play rookies, and aside from Jordan Matthews, Beau Allen and Cody Parkey, this seemed to be the case for the most part last year. It seems as though the media and the fans pretty much dismiss these second-year players as busts and give them little or no chance of developing. I think Josh Huff, Trey Burton, Ed Reynolds, Taylor Hart, Travis Long and Jaylen Watkins have the chance to develop into good players. Am I being overly optimistic about these players having a chance to develop into starter-types?

Let’s tackle the first part of the question, Steve.

I wouldn’t say that Kelly doesn’t like to play rookies. He’s been pretty consistent with his belief in running a meritocracy. The players who give the Eagles the best chance to win will get on the field. It doesn’t matter if they’re rookies, veterans or whatever. I believe Kelly 100 percent when he says he believes this is the only way to govern a team and manage playing time. Read more »

Roster Analysis: Sizing Up the Eagles’ Defense

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles made cuts today, trimming the roster down to 53 players in advance of the 4 p.m. deadline. Here’s a position-by-position look at what the squad looks like on defense. If you missed the post on the offense, click here.

Defensive line (7): Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart.

If you would have told me a month ago that Bair was going to make the roster, I would have vehemently disagreed. But his preseason performance made keeping him seem like a no-brainer. Read more »

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