Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
The league year begins in just over a week. Here’s the latest Eagles buzz as free agency approaches and the draft draws closer:
* The Eagles still have interest in re-signing Brandon Graham. The two sides are expected to meet early this week, we’re told, presumably to try and knock out a deal.
It’s understandable why the Eagles would want to hold onto the 26-year-old. He has had a high production rate in two years under Chip Kelly, turned into a solid special teams contributor this past season and is already familiar with the system and culture. Without him, they would likely have to dive into the free-agent pool for help. And while they could theoretically grab someone like Jason Worilds, whom they’ve shown interest in previously, they would probably have to overspend to get him. Read more »
Today’s question comes from Silvio on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page:
Two of our best young defenders (Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham) are better fits for a 4-3 scheme, and we are underusing them and risking losing them. Also, Trent Cole and probably Fletcher Cox are more suitable to a 4-3, while only Connor Barwin is a true 3-4 player. If the target is maximizing your talent, does it make any sense keeping this odd front?
Thanks for the question, Silvio. I actually think the job the coaching staff has done with the front seven in the past two years has been the biggest success story on defense. Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today
The similarities, Yvonne Thagon says, are uncanny.
The mother of Mychal and Eric Kendricks has old photos of the brothers playing sports back when they were kids, and says their mannerisms — like how they’d squat down while waiting to go in a game, their hands placed just like so — are identical. During the one year they played football together in high school, she had a difficult time telling them apart on the field given that they played the same position (middle linebacker) and had similar builds and playing styles.
“They are so alike,” said Thagon, “yet so different.”
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Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. We have covered the quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line and outside linebackers so far. Now it’s on to the inside linebackers.
STATE OF THE ROSTER
The Eagles have quite a few decisions to make at this spot. The starters at the beginning of last year were DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.
Despite missing four games, Kendricks finished second on the team with 108 tackles, according to stats kept by the coaches. He had four sacks, three hurries, two passes batted down and three forced fumbles in what was an extremely productive year.
Ryans was playing well also before suffering an Achilles’ injury during the Texans game on Nov. 2. It’s the second time he’s suffered the injury, and at the age of 30, he’s looking at another offseason of rehab. Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
Here’s the injury report for Sunday’s regular-season finale in New York: Read more »
Eagles defensive players – well, most of them anyway – know by now not to make excuses.
The offense wants to play fast every week, regardless of opponent, situation or anything else. The defense’s job is always to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score. Since Chip Kelly took over, that formula has worked pretty well. But there are games, like Sunday’s, when the offense is stagnant. And that puts the defensive players in a bind.
For example, to start the game, the defense gave up a 10-play, 43-yard drive that took 6:35 off the clock. The offense went three-and-out in 25 seconds. And Billy Davis’ guys were right back out there.
That is just how it is. It’s why the Eagles train the way they do. And it’s why in a perfect world, they’d like to rotate players on defense even more.
“I think they are fine,” Kelly said Monday. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the fourth quarter. I just think that they are built for it. They are in great condition. They train at a really high level. They practice against us. They understand what it takes. We didn’t come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go.” Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today.
Football is a sport and ours is a world where conclusions are drawn between heartbeats.
That’s why we pull out the measuring sticks and set up our tier systems and sift through our data to try and form something concrete — never mind that the concrete is weeks away from hardening. Read more »
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY
There was a lot of talk about measuring sticks in the Eagles’ locker room Sunday evening. Questions regarding what the players learned about themselves during a windy afternoon at the Linc. Discussions on whether the team is capable of competing with the best of the best in the conference.
After a 24-14 loss to the Seahawks in which the offense looked completely outmatched, the Eagles are now 0-3 against NFC teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.
The overall mood, though, was more upbeat than one might expect. As Russell Wilson knelt down to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, Connor Barwin walked around to his teammates and delivered fist-pounds and hugs. When Mark Sanchez returned to his locker after his press conference, Jordan Matthews greeted him a handshake.
Everyone seemed to share the same feeling.
“I don’t think that anybody in here feels that we can’t beat the Seattle Seahawks,” said center Jason Kelce. “I just think they were much better than we were today. And I think we feel the same way about Green Bay and about any team in the NFL. On any given day, you can win in this league. And it really comes down to us just continuing to improve each and every day.” Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
A few sharp-tongued members of the Seattle defense let it fly in the locker room following a dominant performance against the Eagles’ highly touted offensive attack.
Linebacker K.J. Wright called the Eagles “a pretty simple team.” Defensive end Michael Bennett said the Philadelphia police should be notified because Mark Sanchez is “trying to impersonate a good quarterback.” And Richard Sherman took a shot at the Eagles’ receiving corps while throwing some love in the direction of his childhood friend, DeSean Jackson.
“I think they miss him tremendously. He was an incredible threat — still a threat in this league,” said Sherman of Jackson. “A player like that a defense has to account for. You have to be worried about where he is at all times. Right now we can stand up across the board and play.”
The defending champs had room to criticize after holding the Eagles to just 139 yards of total offense en route to a 24-14 win Sunday. That’s the lowest offensive output in Chip Kelly‘s six years as a head coach.
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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today
Player I’ll be watching
McManus: Mychal Kendricks
Russell Wilson told Philly reporters this week that teams have used a spy on him ever since he started playing football. Odds are the trend will continue Sunday. Whether Kendricks is the one who draws that particular assignment or not, he’ll be playing a critical role against Seattle.
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