Eagles Wake-Up Call: WR Depth Chart Analysis

Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Rueben Randle, and Nelson Agholor. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Rueben Randle, and Nelson Agholor. (Jeff Fusco)

Tim kicked off this series by looking at the linebackers and defensive linemen. Let’s take a quick detour to the opposite side of the ball and focus on the wide receivers.

Current group

Projected starters: Jordan Matthews (slot), Nelson Agholor, Rueben Randle

Reserves: Chris GivensT.J. Graham, Josh Huff, Marcus Johnson, Cayleb Jones, Jonathan Krause, Xavier Rush, Hunter Sharp, and Paul Turner.

Analysis

Obviously, the Agholor sexual assault allegation could drastically change the Eagles’ outlook at this position, but it remains to be seen what will happen — if anything — and when. The most recent bit of news on this front was a few weeks ago when Philly Mag’s David Gambacorta reported the investigation had been handed over to District Attorney Seth Williams. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles By the Numbers

Leodis McKelvin. (Jeff Fusco)

Leodis McKelvin. (Jeff Fusco)

Some numbers of note related to the 2016 Eagles:

1.6 —  Average number of interceptions per season for Leodis McKelvin.

McKelvin stood out this spring, establishing himself as the No. 1 corner heading into training camp. The 30-year-old has 64 career passes defensed to his name but hasn’t come away with a ton of picks in his career, totaling 13 over eight seasons.

It’s a similar story for his fellow defensive backs. Nolan Carroll has seven interceptions over six years (1.17 avg); Rodney McLeod has five interceptions over four seasons (1.25 avg.); Malcolm Jenkins has 11 in 7 (1.57); and Ron Brooks has zero career picks over his four-year career to date. Among what you might consider the main players vying for starting spots in the defensive backfield — Jenkins, McLeod, McKelvin,  Carroll, Brooks and Eric Rowe — zero registered more than two interceptions last season. (For reference, 47 players across the league had three-plus in 2015). Not the most prolific group when it comes to turnovers, in other words. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Randle ‘A Pleasant Surprise’

Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Rueben Randle, and Nelson Agholor. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Rueben Randle, and Nelson Agholor. (Jeff Fusco)

After some early interest in experimenting with Jordan Matthews on the outside, Doug Pederson has since concluded that the 23-year-old is best suited for the slot. Assuming that opinion sticks, the first-year head coach will look elsewhere to fill the ‘X’ and ‘Z’ receiver posts. Who will be the primary outside guys to start?

“Yeah, you know, Rueben Randle has really made an impact this spring,” Pederson began. “Chris Givens is another one. Nelson Agholor, of course, is another one. Josh Huff is another guy that can work both inside and outside — probably another one that’s going to be inside.

“And these guys have really, especially Rueben, has been a pleasant surprise. He’s a guy that’s a big, tall, sort of a smooth receiver that understands what we’re asking him to do. He knows his role and you’ve got three or four or five guys out there right now that are competing for that spot.”

A couple things stick out in that response. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Jordan Matthews’ Role

Jordan Matthews. (USA Today Sports)

Jordan Matthews. (USA Today Sports)

For your mailbag question to be considered, complete the form at the bottom of this post.

In the Reid/Pederson offense, what receivers do you project to generally line up at the X (weak side), the Y (slot) and the Z (strong side)? Do you project Mathews and Trey Burton as halfback and fullback? How do those positions line up? -Anonymous Fan

I’d be shocked if a healthy Ryan Mathews is not the starting running back. As for fullback, Doug Pederson slipped in a nugget about that during his media availability on Friday. When discussing the running backs, Pederson went on a brief aside and singled out Chris Pantale as the guy he wants to see once the pads come on to determine if he can become a fullback. Read more »

Matthews Explains Benefits Of Offensive Changes

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

It’s easy to pile on Chip Kelly now that he’s gone, and it’s even easier for players to praise their new head coach, but Jordan Matthews explained to reporters on Tuesday after practice why, exactly, he and his teammates have taken to Doug Pederson and the changes he’s made on offense.

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed that I think a lot of people don’t take into account that was different from last year is when you’re trying to go fast a lot, the snap count isn’t a huge factor. When you’re in this type of offense, the cadence has to be a strength of ours,” Matthews said. “We have to be able to go up there and be able to deceive defenses, get them in what they’re going to do and then put ourselves in the best position to make plays.” Read more »

Nelson Agholor And the Transition To Year 2

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Jordan Matthews pointed to one play in particular from Tuesday’s practice that signaled a return to form for Nelson Agholor.

“You can tell he’s back healthy. He caught a little short post today and the way he caught it, stuck his foot in the ground and got vertical? That’s the Nelson I’m used to knowing,” said Matthews. “Nelson’s transition from catch to run is crazy. I think he’s on a level that a lot of guys aren’t.”

In a sea of 90 top-level athletes, Agholor’s agility and burst stands out. It doesn’t take a trained eye to identify the elite physical gifts that the first-round pick out of USC possesses. They were equally evident last spring and summer, leading teammates and analysts alike to predict big things for Agholor in his rookie season.

Those predictions, of course, fell flat. Read more »

A Different View From the Inside On Bradford

Jordan Matthews, Sam Bradford

Malcolm Jenkins and Jordan Matthews reminded those gathered around them Tuesday of a fundamental truth about the NFL: it’s a business.

“There’s 52 guys in here that feel like they’re overworked and underpaid. That’s just the reality of it,” said Matthews. “Everybody wants more money. Everybody wants this and that.”

For proof, reporters simply had to shift their eyes down the locker room some to the vacant stall typically occupied by Fletcher Cox. The standout defensive tackle has been missing all offseason as efforts to re-up his contract continue. Darren Sproles, too, has been a no-show, which reportedly has something to do with trade discussions that were held over draft weekend. Yet there has been very little external blowback, particularly compared to the storm that Sam Bradford‘s recent actions created. Read more »

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