Eagles All-22 Wake-Up Call: The Texas Concept

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Sitting at a table full of Eagles beat reporters at the owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., Doug Pederson‘s voice heightened more than an hour into the session when he was asked if he’d use Zach Ertz similar to how the Chiefs deployed Travis Kelce.

“Yeah, I do. And I’m glad you brought that up, because I like our tight ends. I like our athleticism there. It’s a good group — great group,” Pederson said three months ago. “The primary tight end, Zach, is athletic [and] young. He’s like Brent [Celek] was when he first came in and a lot like Travis Kelce that way.”

When Pederson called plays for Kansas City last season, he often attempted to get Kelce the ball down the middle of the field on seam-type routes. One West Coast offense staple he liked to use was the Texas concept, which accounted for a few of the Chiefs’ big plays. Read more »

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 »

Weekend Reading: Doug Pederson’s Impact

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Here’s this weekend’s roundup of the national stories about the Eagles:

In his first year as head coach, Doug Pederson‘s leadership and philosophy is impacting the team, Michael Silver from NFL.com reports.

The way Pederson navigated the controversy, ultimately bringing [Sam] Bradford back into the fold as his presumptive No. 1 quarterback with no apparent hard feelings and minimal internal drama, tells us a lot about the 48-year-old rookie head coach’s forthright, guileless and — thus far, at least — well-received leadership style. Yet if Pederson had been completely honest, his response to Bradford’s trade demand might well have been reduced to two words of unambiguous awesomeness.

Child please. 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 Offseason Outlook: Tight End

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. In the first three installments, we covered the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. Now, it’s on to the tight ends.

STATE OF THE ROSTER

After 11 weeks of underwhelming performances, Zach Ertz came alive in the last four games of the season. He racked up 450 yards over the final four games, joining Jimmy Graham as the only NFL tight ends with at least 450 yards over a four-game span since 2013. Read more »

By the Numbers: Doug Pederson’s Quick Fixes

Chiefs tight ends coach Tom Melvin and Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

Chiefs tight ends coach Tom Melvin and Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

The Eagles’ offense, for all of its bells and whistles, was an unabashed mess in 2015. The run game fell apart, the passing game was spotty, and the offensive line suffered in a big way.

Hundreds of miles away, Doug Pederson and the Chiefs found a way to string together a monster winning streak with Alex Smith under center and their No. 1 running back sidelined for a good portion of the season.

While dumping an offensive genius in Chip Kelly and picking up a throwback offensive mind in Pederson may mean expecting a more productive unit initially feels a little backward, there might be something to a new perspective and a successful mind trying his hand at the Eagles’ cluttered offense.

Here are three things Pederson can start with.

Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Why the Eagles Are Being Aggressive

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

You wonder if Fletcher Cox would have been locked up months ago if not for the short-lived Chip Kelly power grab.

Howie Roseman comes from the Joe Banner school of financial management that teaches to sign your core players early. The logic is sound: the money arrow is always pointing up in the NFL. The more dollars that come in, the higher the cap. As the cap grows, so too does the cost of the individual deals. If you have identified someone that you want to keep around long-term, it’s best to strike as soon as possible while leverage is still on your side and before the price spikes.

Cox became eligible for an extension at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Since then, Ndamukong Suh inked a six-year deal that contains a shade under $60 million in guarantees and averages out to about $19 million per year; Cox has elevated his game while marching a step closer to the end of his deal; and the cap jumped $10 million, with another $10 million bump (if not greater) expected to be announced in March for the ’16 season.

Some league insiders believe Cox will command somewhere around $16-18 million per season now, if not higher. Assuming the 25-year-old was willing to play ball last season, the Eagles lost a significant amount of money by waiting.

That (somewhat extreme) example helps explain why Roseman has been so aggressive to start this offseason. Read more »

Eagles Sign Brent Celek To Three-Year Deal

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Eagles and veteran tight end Brent Celek have agreed to a three-year deal worth $13 million, including $6 million in guaranteed money. The deal, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan, was confirmed by the Eagles.

This news comes a day after the Eagles announced a five-year deal with Zach Ertz, a deal that is reportedly worth $42.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

Read more »

« Older Posts