Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during the second day of training camp.

11:55 – During an early drill, the defensive backs focus on press technique against wide receivers. There’s no pass or actual football involved. They just line up across from each other, and both sides try to win at the line of scrimmage.

On one rep, Jordan Matthews tosses Walter Thurmond aside and scoots past him. Later, Nolan Carroll draws praise from defensive backs coach Cory Undlin. The early “Coach’s Pet” award goes to Carroll. Everyone in the building has been raving about him nonstop since the spring. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Defending the Changes

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.

David Murphy of the Daily News thinks Chip Kelly’s drastic moves were necessary for the Eagles to compete in 2015:

The point, then, is this: The Redskins made significant improvements to their defense. The Giants and Cowboys didn’t get any worse (at least until the Fourth of July), and they likely got at least marginally better (with the potential for significant improvements out of some young players). If all three teams in the division aren’t any worse defensively than they were last year, which is true, and at least one is significantly better, which is true, and if the Eagles went 10-6 and failed to win the division last year, which is true, then it would make sense to conclude that the Eagles’ best course of action wasn’t sitting back and hoping that the gang would pull through if given another go-around. 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: On Matthews’ Role in 2015

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

During his first practices as a rookie, Jordan Matthews made a habit of finding the end zone.

Whenever he caught the ball, he would take off in a sprint towards the goal line before eventually returning to the line of scrimmage. Chip Kelly was asked last week about Matthews’ routine.

“In football, the play ends on a whistle,” Kelly said. “So when the whistle blows, stop running. That was the conversation.”

When the regular season started, Matthews had no problem finding the end zone, scoring eight touchdowns as a rookie.

Raymond Summerlin of Rotoworld recently put together a piece on red zone production. He found that Matthews scored on 38 percent of his red zone targets, ranking 16th among all wide receivers and ninth among those who were targeted 10 times or more. Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Fletcher Cox

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB offers thoughts on Evan Mathis.

I think the biggest surprise of the Evan Mathis release is that the Eagles couldn’t recoup some value for him via trade. The $5.5 million salary must have been a non-starter, but his price tag could creep pretty high for interested teams in free agency. The fact that Chip Kelly made the move nonetheless, proves how committed he is to doing things his way.

Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.

Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.

Here’s what we saw during Eagles OTAs on Monday.

12:25 – A shoutout to Andy Reid off the top today. We’ll start with injuries. DeMeco RyansMarcus Smith IIEarl Wolff and Julian Vandervelde are working off to the side. Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles are not here. The Eagles did not provide any reasons why. The OTAs are voluntary.

12:30 – I hate to keep providing video of the defensive linemen, but they are the guys who have been practicing closest to us. Here, they’re working on their pass-rush and their hands with Jerry Azzinaro. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matthews Vs. Maxwell

Jordan Matthews / Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jordan Matthews / Photo by Jeff Fusco

During a seven-on-seven period Tuesday, Jordan Matthews lined up on the outside opposite Byron Maxwell.

The defense simulated a blitz, and Mark Sanchez got rid of the ball quickly, targeting Matthews on a fade down the right sideline.

The second-year receiver tracked the ball beautifully and came down with an over-the-shoulder grab for a big play.

“I already turned the page,” Matthews said afterwards when reminded of the grab. “Don’t worry about that.”

Last year, in the four weeks leading up to the Seahawks game, Matthews had averaged 93.3 yards with four touchdowns. But against Seattle, Maxwell shut him down (two catches for 23 yards). It was the first time in eight games that he failed to notch a catch of 20+ yards.

Matthews remembers that game well and is embracing the opportunity to go up against Maxwell on a daily basis. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Lane Johnson’s Rigorous Training

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia EaglesHere are some links and stories regarding the Eagles that are worth checking out this weekend.

Dave Spadaro of philadelphiaeagles.com reports on Lane Johnson’s offseason MMA workouts in California:

Johnson enrolled at MMA Athletics, a program founded by Mixed Martial Arts legend Randy Couture and FOX NFL insider Jay Glazer, an established program that takes athletes’ conditioning to an entirely different level.

“I want to be elite at my position in the NFL, and I felt that this would help me get there,” Johnson says now, fresh off a training session at the NovaCare Complex. “I have a lot of confidence about what’s ahead of me.

“I think I’m getting close to being elite. Last year was a big stepping stone from my rookie year and I just have to be more aggressive and more violent going into Year 3.”
Read more »

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