Eagles Offseason Outlook: Tight End

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

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 and running backs so far. Now it’s onto the tight ends.

STATE OF THE ROSTER

All four of the tight ends from last year’s squad – Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey and Trey Burton - are under contract.

Having said that, we could still see some turnover at this position.

Celek played 69 percent of the snaps last year and finished with 32 catches for 340 yards and a touchdown. Celek was very good as a run blocker, and it’s no secret that Chip Kelly thinks the world of him.

Ertz is one of the best receiving options on the team, having finished with 58 grabs for 702 yards. The feeling here is that he was underutilized (50 percent of the snaps) in 2014.

Casey played just 14 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, but was a big special-teams contributor with 13 tackles, second to only Chris Maragos. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matthews’ Role In 2015

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes from reader Tom, who writes from Sydney, Australia:

Hey fellas, there has been a fair amount of (deserved) criticism directed at Chip Kelly’s: A.) Use of Riley Cooper and B.) Lack of use of Zach Ertz.

Is it possible that Chip realizes in 2015 that his best base personnel combination is moving Matthews into Riley Cooper’s spot and moving Ertz into Matthews’ spot in the slot?

First of all, having a reader chime in from Australia is awesome, so thanks for taking the time, Tom.

I think the answer here boils down to two things: Read more »

Ertz Thinks Foles Can Reach Luck Status

foles-ertz-jaguars-eric-hartline-usa-today

Nick Foles did not receive a full endorsement from Jeffrey Lurie or Chip Kelly this week. But one key piece to this offense moving forward sounded quite confident that Foles would be the one throwing him the ball in 2015.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” said Zach Ertz. “Obviously I don’t make those decisions but as a player that has played with him, we’ve won a lot of games together. I think that’s the ultimate key of a quarterback is to win games, put your team in a very good position to win games, and at the end of the day we did that.

“I think we know what we have in Nick, I think management knows what they have in Nick, and we think he’s a franchise quarterback.”

Ertz and Foles developed a relationship early on last season when Ertz was playing sparingly as a rookie and Foles was still the backup to Michael Vick. Watch the pre-game warm-ups, and you’ll see them routinely emerge from the tunnel together to get in a one-on-one catch hours before kickoff.

The second-year tight end has always been complimentary of Foles. On Monday, he referenced one of the best signal-callers in the game when speaking about his quarterback’s potential. Read more »

Sanchez Unable To Break Old Habits

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly said he didn’t spend much time studying Mark Sanchez‘s tape from New York, focusing instead on his skill set and physical attributes and relying more on the word of those who had been around him in a formal life.

“I talked to his college coaches more than I did that; I talked to his high school coaches and I knew what type of athlete he was and I knew what he could do,” he said earlier this month. “For me to study his tape from the New York Jets ‑‑ now I know other people studied his tape, but I personally didn’t study his tape because I know what he can do and I thought he could fit into our system.”

Sanchez had a sub-60 percent completion rate with the Jets. The Eagles felt that he could get closer to the level of accuracy he displayed at USC (64 percent), and sure enough, he has completed 64 percent of his throws in an Eagles uniform. There were elements of his game from New York that did carry over, though — namely, his propensity to turn the ball over.

Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Cowboys

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday night’s loss to the Cowboys.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez – In a game where the Eagles needed to maximize their opportunities on offense, Sanchez failed to capitalize and made too many mistakes. Although, to be fair, he was far from the only problem.

Overall, Sanchez went 17-for-28 for 252 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Per Pro Football Focus, he was 12-for-13 on throws under 10 yards. On attempts 10 yards or more from the line of scrimmage, Sanchez was 5-for-13. He did not complete a single pass that traveled 20 yards or more from the line of scrimmage and attempted just two. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Cowboys, the Day After

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Davis usually sets up shop at the exact same spot in the middle of the Eagles locker room after home games.

He always speaks in the same calm, measured tone. You can never tell by his face whether his defense just played well or played poorly, whether the Eagles won or lost.

Players seem to appreciate that about him. And so does Chip Kelly. Davis believes in the process, and having coached in the NFL for more than 20 years, he’s been on the wrong side of plenty of bad losses, contests where the game plan left room for second-guessing and where the coaches didn’t put the players in positions to succeed.

Sunday’s 38-27 loss to the Cowboys was one of those games. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Seattle

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Seahawks after having re-watched the game.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez – He obviously struggled throughout. Sanchez became the second QB this season to attempt at least 20 passes and total fewer than 100 yards in a game. The other was Andy Dalton. Overall, Sanchez went 10-for-20 for 96 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The thing about facing a defense as good as Seattle’s is there are not going to be a lot of chances to make plays in the passing game. You have to make the most of your opportunities. And Sanchez did not do that.

On the first play, he stepped up, targeted Jeremy Maclin and was nearly intercepted by Richard Sherman. Sanchez threw short of the sticks to Jordan Matthews for a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive. Good decision to pull the ball and fire to Maclin for the 1-yard TD. Good throw on boot-action to his left, finding Matthews for a 17-yard gain in the first. Bad-looking deep ball intended for Cooper on the post against what I believe was Cover 3. He threw short of the sticks incomplete to Matthews on 3rd-and-9 in the second. Sanchez has had trouble on screens to the slot. He fired one high to Maclin in the second, which threw off the rhythm of the play on an incompletion. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Seahawks, the Day After

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

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 »

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