Wake-Up Call: What the Eagles Want At Safety

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Today’s question comes from reader/commenter Nick via e-mail:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed in the comments, I’ve been discussing at length how we passed on Jairus Byrd (and, with hindsight and knee injury aside, probably shouldn’t have) because we wanted a more “complete” safety to have the mirrored look, but ended up playing a lot of single high. What’s the root cause of the change there? Seeing a lot of 3-WR seems like the obvious answer, but I wanted to know if it was adjusting to what we’re facing or an outright change in philosophy. Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Here is a rundown of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

ESPN.com teamed up with Pro Football Focus to figure out how close each team is to competing in the Super Bowl. Despite the Eagles missing the playoffs, the analysis suggested the team is just two players away from getting to the title game. Phil Sheridan notes the positions the Eagles could improve heading into next season:

Secondary: The Eagles’ pass defense truly broke down in the last month of the season. Opposing quarterbacks completed 61 percent of their passes for 1,177 yards and six touchdowns in December. During the three-game losing streak that knocked Philly out of the playoffs, the Eagles allowed 14 pass plays of more than 20 yards, the second-most in the league. Half the secondary starters — CB Bradley Fletcher and S Nate Allen — are scheduled to become free agents. A third, cornerback Cary Williams, could be on his way out, thanks to his $8.1 million cap number. Whether it’s through free agency or the draft, this beleaguered unit is in need of a major overhaul. Seattle’s Byron Maxwell would be worth a look. Read more »

Wake Up Call: Could Foles Be Trade Chip?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Today’s question comes via email from reader Matt:

I had a question about the Eagles drafting Mariota (you’ve heard of that possibility right???). I’ve seen the arm and a leg scenarios about what we’d need to give up to go from 20 to the top five. I’ve heard the names Cox and McCoy most often when talking about adding in current players in addition to draft picks…What I don’t think I’ve seen yet is Foles’ name mentioned as a bargaining chip. He has to have value around the league, right? Wouldn’t one of these teams at the top like the Bucs, Titans or Jets want to hedge their bets a little on drafting a quarterback and instead take Foles who has shown some success, plus our 1st round pick and maybe one more or a 2nd round? That would cut down on the amount of picks for us to give up, while still giving that team a viable starting option from Day 1. I know it’s a big gamble to give up on Foles, but if we think Mariota is the answer, there’s no point in having 2 QB’s right?

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Gruden: A Lot Of Teams Would Trade For Foles

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Last night, some Eagles got to show off their talents in Glendale, Az., albeit a week earlier than they would have liked. Nine players ended up getting selected to participate in the Pro Bowl, but because of injuries and other reasons, six actually played in the game.

Below is a roundup of Eagles-related news and notes from the event.

Before the game, Jon Gruden gave Comcast SportsNet’s John Clark his thoughts on Nick Foles’ future as the Eagles quarterback:

“Foles can execute and make plays in this offense if he’s healthy,” Gruden said. “He’s been hurt two years in a row. That’s the number one obstacle with Foles, staying on the field. Chip Kelly is sure going to be looking for quarterbacks [in the draft], we all do, and I’m sure that he has Marcus Mariota on his speed dial. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Did Foles Miss Lazor?

Kirby Lee / USA Today

Kirby Lee / USA Today

MOBILE, Ala. — Today’s question comes from reader Ricky, via e-mail.

I’m starting to think a big reason for Nick Foles’ decline in 2014 was the change at QB coach. Bill Lazor led Ryan Tannehill to a career year in 2014, while Bill Musgrave led the Eagles to a league-high 21 interceptions. Is it possible that the Eagles need to rethink their current QB coach heading into 2015?

I may need to make Ricky an official source for Birds 24/7. His e-mail came in at 2:03 p.m. About seven hours later, news broke that Musgrave was headed to Oakland to become the Raiders offensive coordinator.

As for the question, evaluating position coaches can be a difficult task. Basically, all we can go on is results and what the players tell us.

In one season under Lazor, Foles completed 64 percent of his passes, averaged 9.1 YPA and threw 27 touchdowns against two interceptions. In two seasons under other quarterbacks coaches, he completed 60.2 percent of his passes, averaged 6.7 YPA and threw 19 TDs against 15 interceptions. Read more »

McCoy Grabs Foles’ Back

Photo Credit Kelley L. Cox - USA Today

Photo Credit Kelley L. Cox – USA Today

Nick Foles received a vote of confidence from a key member of the offense Friday amid speculation that the Eagles might be moving in a different direction at quarterback.

LeSean McCoy, during an appearance on the NFL Network, was asked if Foles can be “the guy” for Chip Kelly‘s offense.

“I think so. I like Nick,” said McCoy. “The person and the player that everybody thought he was, he is. There were a lot of injuries this year — Nick obviously got injured. He gets all the blame and he shouldn’t. I think Nick is a good quarterback, he is the leader of this team, and things just didn’t work out for him this year due to injury. But we’ve got his back.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: What Would It Take?

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Prior to Monday night’s national championship game, Chip Kelly took his public touting of Marcus Mariota to another level.

“He might be the fastest guy on the field. But his mind is even faster,” Kelly told ESPN during the pregame show. “(He) thinks like Peyton Manning.”

Kelly has not hidden his affection for the 6-4, 219-pound signal-caller, calling him the most talented player he coached on the college level. Ohio State’s 42-20 win against Oregon in the title game is unlikely to change his opinion of Mariota, who went 24-of-37 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and a last-second interception in defeat. Assuming he declares for the draft as expected, the Heisman Trophy winner finishes his college career with over 13,000 yards of total offense and 105 touchdown tosses to just 14 interceptions.

Opinions vary on how high Mariota will be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, and therefor how likely it is that the Eagles can get within striking distance to land him. Standout executive turned ESPN analyst Bill Polian, for one, believes Mariota will go in the top three and possibly first overall. Read more »

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