Eagles Wake-Up Call: Ranking the Assets

Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

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

How do you rank the top longterm players on the Eagles? -Terry

NFL teams unexpectedly cut and trade players all of the time, but one thing Howie Roseman has brought to the Eagles this offseason — at least for the near future — is clarity. By giving out twice as much guaranteed money as any other team since the beginning of the calendar year, it’s clear who the team values and wants to build around.

But one of the biggest question marks with Roseman has never been his salary cap management — it’s talent evaluation. So this is an interesting mailbag question to consider, and although the Eagles made a big trade to acquire a guy they think could be a franchise quarterback, they are building around a core group of players who went 7-9 last year and were on a team which often appeared worse than their record suggested.

Is that a nucleus you can win a Super Bowl with? Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Strengthening the Core

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Howie Roseman retold the Fletcher Cox draft story Thursday. About how they had a trade worked out with Seattle to move up from 15 to 12 if one of their targets happened to still be on the board; that they never anticipated one of those primary targets — Cox — to actually last that long; and how a last-second offer forced them to contemplate their chosen course of action.

“When he got to 12 and we were ready to make the pick, we had agreed on the trade, and then we got a call from another team offering us to move back for a future one,” said Roseman. “And so we just kind of took a minute and just thought about Fletcher and what we projected him to be. And if he was that, how would we get that guy again? And all around the room, everyone agreed that to get a 6-4, 310-pound guy, 35-inch arms, powerful, athletic, great character, we’d have to pick in the Top-5 — 21 years old. For us, even if that future one was a 12 or 13 or 14, we thought it was a unique opportunity that we were able to get that kind of guy, so we just kind of made the pick.”

Roseman called it “one of my favorite stories that we’ve had here.” And no wonder: it’s a triumphant tale involving the single-best pick he’s ever made. Chances are, he’s got some good ones about Vinny Curry and Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson as well.

The key thing, as we work to make sense of the decision to pour $143 million of guarantees into those four players, is the very fact that there are stories to tell. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

Here’s what we saw during today’s practice session as OTAs wrapped up:

10:00 — Before practice begins, Doug Pederson updates us on injuries. Jordan Hicks won’t practice as he’s been getting treatment for a quad spasm, although he’ll be back on the field next week for mandatory minicamp on a limited basis. Rueben Randle, who had gallbladder surgery, will also be back and limited next week. Both Nolan Carroll and JaCorey Shepherd have been cleared for team activities next week and are doing “extremely well.”

10:20 — We’re inside the bubble today because it’s raining, and Carson Wentz is the first quarterback there, followed shortly thereafter by Chase Daniel. No sight of Sam Bradford yet, who is likely hanging with T-Mac on the yacht today. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Dark Horses And Disappointments

Leodis McKelvin. (Jeff Fusco)

Leodis McKelvin. (Jeff Fusco)

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

Any dark horse players you see having a big year? Any front runners having a down year? -Frank H.

I’m very curious to see how Jordan Hicks plays this season. I don’t think he’ll play poorly, but I could see him disappointing people after his impressive six-game stretch last season when he started after Kiko Alonso went down during Week 2. I expect him to be a good linebacker for the Eagles long term, but he has very little experience and will have more on his shoulders as the guy who will register a huge number of snaps as the MIKE in Jim Schwartz’s 4-3. Read more »

Eagles Mailbag: Who Will Play A Lot More In 2016?

Jordan Hicks. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Hicks. (Jeff Fusco)

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

You can make good arguments for each of those guys.

Ryan Mathews’ injury history suggests he’ll likely miss a few games, but he did rank second among running backs in yards per carry last season (5.1). While I think it’s highly unlikely he reaches that number again, he displayed the talent that makes him worthy of being a feature back. I’m not sold he can stay healthy enough for that, but it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which he doesn’t play a lot more than 21 percent of the offense’s snaps, as he did in 2015. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Barwin And the Defensive End Rotation

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

There were two key differences  between 2014 and 2015 from a pass-rushing perspective, says Connor Barwin.

In ’14, the Eagles played with the lead more — particularly over the first 12 games when they shot out to a 9-3 mark and Barwin racked up 12.5 of his career-high 14.5 sacks. Last season, there were fewer opportunities to just pin the ears back.

The other was depth. The Eagles enjoyed a nice rotation at outside linebacker two seasons ago with Brandon Graham successfully rotating in with Barwin and Trent Cole. This past year, not so much.  Where Graham played 499 snaps (43 percent) in the next-man-in role in ’14, Marcus Smith was in for 127 (10.5 percent) largely unproductive snaps, per Football Outsiders.

“If anything, the last year, we just didn’t have a great guy to rotate with me and Brandon Graham,” Barwin told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio. “And that was a problem. Hopefully this year, moving to a 4-3, we’ll have that with Vinny [Curry] — because Vinny can play first and second down at defensive end.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defensive Line Outlook

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

This week we’ll continue to take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. In the first five installments, we covered the quarterbacks, running backswide receivers, tight endsoffensive linemen and safeties. Now, it’s on to the defensive line.

STATE OF THE ROSTER

Asked during an appearance on Daniel Jeremiah’s Move the Sticks podcast to pick one defensive lineman he’d choose to build a defense around, Jim Schwartz offered a response that revealed a little bit about his overall philosophy. Read more »

Eagles Sign Najee Goode To One-Year Deal

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles announced Wednesday the signing of linebacker Najee Goode to a one-year deal.

Details of the deal were not disclosed.

After missing the 2014 season with a pectoral injury, Goode was a special teams contributor during the 2015 season, including scoring a 24-yard touchdown on the Chris Maragos-blocked punt in the Eagles’ 35-28 win over the Patriots. It was the second-longest punt return touchdown in team history.

Read more »

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