Wake-Up Call: Coaches Remain High On Watkins

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Much of the attention paid to Jaylen Watkins faded as the draft gave way to OTAs and minicamp.

The more that was learned about the Florida product after he was selected in the fourth round by the Eagles, the more expectations grew. A team captain who ran a 4.41 40 on a bad wheel that can play safety and corner? Some wondered if he could make a push for playing time from the jump.

Like many of  his fellow rookies, though, the Florida product found himself working with the third team for most of the spring. Any thoughts of him skyrocketing up the depth chart were put on hold as he began negotiating the steep NFL learning curve.

While he may not have captured the headlines or flashed as much as, say, fellow corner Nolan Carroll this spring, the coaching staff remains optimistic that Watkins can have an impact in 2014 — though there is still plenty of work to be done. Read more »

This Time Around, Momah Has A Shot

 

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

James Brady was around for the first Ifeanyi Momah transformation.

The two have been friends since they were teenagers. They went to different high schools in Long Island but the quarterback and receiver regularly trained together. As kids with little cash and big goals, they used to jump from gym to gym around the neighborhood, taking advantage of the free introductory memberships until it was time to find the next deal.

When they weren’t playing on the same night Brady would go and check out Momah’s games, and remembers the gigantic jump he took once he injected some swagger into that large frame.

Read more »

On the Allen/Jenkins Dynamic

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly cracked wise as a reporter began asking whether Nate Allen and Malcolm Jenkins play a physical enough brand of ball to be an effective safety duo.

“They’ve been knocking the [stuffing] out of people in OTAs, so be ready for that,” Kelly quipped.

Joking aside, the two safeties currently atop the depth chart aren’t exactly known for laying the lumber. Philosophically, how important is it to have an enforcer in the back end in the head coach’s view? Read more »

Even With Foles, Zone Read Here To Stay

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings
Funny to think how significantly the dynamics of the quarterback situation have shifted over the course of a year.

This time last offseason Michael Vick was splitting first-team reps with Nick Foles. And given the little that we knew about Chip Kelly‘s offense, you couldn’t help but think Vick had the leg up. Day after day we saw the Eagles practice the zone read, over and over. The QB would cross paths with the running back and, depending on how the defense responded, would either complete the handoff or keep it and head for the edge. This didn’t seem to be a particularly good sign for Foles, who once said: “If I can adapt I want to, but I’m not a zone read quarterback. Some people are gifted with different things, that’s just not one of my skill sets.”

Kelly phrased it this way at the beginning of training camp last season: “To be honest with you, if I called 20 read options with Nick Foles in the game, you should fire me.  We’re talking about practice right now.  I think we’ve got to figure out who our quarterback is before we understand the direction of where our offense is going.”

It took some time to get the QB position settled, but it eventually blossomed in the hands of Foles. And while Foles never kept it 20 times in a game (the most rushes he had in a single outing was nine), the zone read didn’t go away. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Eagles ran the zone read 304 times during the regular season — 135 times more than the next highest team. About 60 percent of those came when Vick was out of the lineup. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Kelce On Culture Change

Jason Kelce

Jason Kelce has developed into a respected voice over his three-plus years in Philadelphia, so his comments regarding the team’s decision to move on from DeSean Jackson — delivered just 20 minutes after the receiver was cut — carried some weight.

Some took this as evidence that Jackson’s teammates were glad to see the enigmatic receiver go. This theory was bolstered by a report — filled with anonymous quotes allegedly coming from various  members of the organization — suggesting Jackson was a “blatantly insubordinate” distraction that needed to be removed. Kelce was quick to distance himself from those who did not attach their names to their opinions (“You’ll never see me hide behind the title ‘Unnamed source,'” he said), and on Monday explained the intended meaning of his message as the clouds of controversy swirled outside the NovaCare walls. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: On Some Money Matters

Eagles QB Nick Foles talks to WR Desean Jackson during the Eagles-Cowboys game. 10/20/13
Now seems like a good time for a little cap clarity.

The 2012 draft class will be eligible for new contracts at the end of the season, and that’s a pretty big deal for the Eagles. Their philosophy is to identify the key young players, invest in them, and build out from there. The ’12 group consists of Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Nick Foles and Brandon Boykin. That’s a big part of the projected core moving forward, and includes a Pro Bowl quarterback that could be in line for a monster raise.

Howie Roseman recently suggested that releasing DeSean Jackson was financially-driven in part, and that tough decisions like that have to be made in order to build the team properly.

But was it really necessary?  Were there alternatives? What kind of money will Foles command? And what type of financial shape is the team in overall? For answers, we called on former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry. Read more »

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