Fantasy Focus: Draft Day Decisions

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

As the red clock ticks down and gets closer and closer to zero, analysis paralysis kicks in. It’s not real life—you know that—but it has real life implications. You’ve been a dedicated fan for so long, yet here lies another apparent test of your allegiance.

Questions abound, and you don’t know the answer to even one of them. Should I draft the guy on my favorite team? I think he’s better, but aren’t I biased? Now I’m not sure if he’s better, but wouldn’t a real fan pick him?

The struggle is real in fantasy football, and I’m here to help you. After reviewing ESPN’s fantasy assessments of several Eagles—ESPN was picked because of their enormous popularity—I’ll let you know if ESPN is underrating the player, overrating the player or is spot on. All numbers in the player charts are ESPN’s 2015 projections. Read more »

Making Sense Of the Eagles Inactives

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Zach Ertz and Marcus Smith are inactive for today’s preseason game against the Ravens.

That means Sam Bradford, Kiko Alonso, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks, who were all inactive last week, may play tonight. DeMarco Murray was active in the preseason opener but did not play. Andrew Gardner, who has gotten the most reps with the ones in training camp, will start at right guard once again. Read more »

Making Sense Of the Eagles Inactives

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The following Eagles are inactive for today’s preseason opener against the Colts: QB Sam Bradford, S Jerome Couplin, S Earl Wolff, LB Kiko Alonso, LB DeMeco Ryans, TE Zach Ertz and LB Mychal Kendricks.

We already knew Bradford, Couplin, Alonso and Ertz would sit, and Kendricks has been sidelined in practice since a mid-week collision in 7-on-7. Ryans missed multiple practices this week and has been in the league for a decade, so there’s no need for him to play. Wolff was also sidelined for Thursday’s practice.

Andrew Gardner, who has gotten the most reps with the ones in training camp, will start at right guard. Brad Jones and Emmanuel Acho will start at the two inside linebacker positions. DeMarco Murray, who has practiced a limited amount during camp, is active.

Zach Ertz Has Surgery, Kiko Alonso Still Out

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Zach Ertz underwent surgery Friday to address a core muscle injury. The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers. Chip Kelly announced prior to practice that Ertz will be out for the entire preseason, but thinks the third-year tight end will be ready for Week 1.

“It’s a similar injury [to the one I had]; not the same,” said Jason Kelce, who was sidelined for five weeks following sports hernia surgery last year. “I’ve already kind of talked to him.

“There are some things I wish I had known going into the rehab and going into the recovery process that really helped me out… So I’ve already shared those with Zach, but I think he’s in a much better place than I was.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Center Of the Offense

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports.

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy (USA TODAY Sports).

Jason Kelce isn’t sure you understand. Yes, you know about the quarterback’s audibles before plays, but he’s not confident you realize the importance of the center’s pre-snap calls.

“I don’t know if the fans know, but it’s a really big part of my job,” Kelce said. “Mentally, if you’re on top of your game, the physical stuff is a lot easier.”

He explains he doesn’t want to give any secrets away, but he does reveal what he looks for in a defense before he snaps the ball. First, he reads the way the defense is aligned. Then, he reads how the defenders are spaced relative to the Eagles’ formation and play call.

Read more »

Eagles Notes: Kelly’s Injury Updates

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Chip Kelly kicked off today’s practice with an update on the Eagles that are currently injured. Here’s a rundown of what he had to say about them and his reaction to a former Eagle getting a new deal.

  • Kelly said that linebacker Kiko Alonso suffered his concussion on Tuesday when the team held open practice at the Linc. He doesn’t have a timetable for his return, but the coach noted that Alonso is still working through the concussion protocol with the Eagles training staff. As for the potential for a re-occurrence, Kelly said he isn’t worried.

“No he didn’t,” Kelly said when asked if Alonso had any previous concussions. “I think this is his first, I don’t think he had any in Buffalo.

“He hasn’t had a history of [concussion problems], so we’re not worried about it right now.”

Read more »

Running Diary: Eagle Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Friday’s practice at the NovaCare Complex.

11:36 – Let’s start with who’s here. DeMarco Murray’s back, but he did not participate fully as he recovers from an illness.

Kiko Alonso (concussion) was out for the second day in a row. Mychal Kendricks was on the field, but not in pads and did not participate. No reason was given by the team. And the same can be said for Zach Ertz. Read more »

Eagles Wake Up Call: Tight End Training Camp Preview

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on August 2, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We’ve covered the running backswide receivers and offensive line so far. Today, we’ll take a look at the tight ends.

The pressing question: How will the playing time between Brent Celek and Zach Ertz be divided?

The passing of the torch many predicted for last season never really came to fruition. Celek was on the field for 827 of the offensive snaps, or 69 percent of the time, compared to 603 snaps (50 percent) for Ertz. It really does come back to blocking. Ertz was called on as a run-blocker 161 times last season, per Pro Football Focus, to Celek’s count of 443. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Ertz Putting In the Work

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Ertz has spent the 2015 offseason tracking down extra edge.

He sought the counsel of tight end great Tony Gonzalez. Studied under former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to improve his blocking. For strength and conditioning, he joined Darren Sproles out in San Diego to work with renowned trainer Todd Durkin.

LaDainian Tomlinson was Durkin’s first NFL client, and the tree quickly grew branches from there. Tomlinson brought in Sproles and other Chargers teammates like Drew Brees, who has now been with Durkin for 12 years. The client list also features Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush, among others. Scroll down to the bottom left and you’ll find current Eagles tight end coach Justin Peele, who played 10 seasons in the league. Seeing the benefits of training with Durkin, Peele recommended that Ertz make the trip out west.

“The big thing that we want to do is number one, get Zach in the best shape of his life and then make sure he has the mental frame approach because he has been working with some of these elite guys,” said Durkin a couple weeks back. “Zach is one of these guys that has the ‘it’ factor. He has that mental ability and desire to be great, and he’s doing everything he needs to do to put himself into the upper-echelon of tight ends in the league. Read more »

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