What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Greg Garber of ESPN.com suggests four explosive, yet unlikely, trades. One of them involves the Eagles: LeSean McCoy, Brandon Graham, a second-rounder and a fifth-rounder to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick:

Although McCoy led the league in rushing in 2013, Kelly seemed comfortable with Darren Sproles playing late in the recent oh-so-close game against the Rams. Plus, there are whispers of friction between Kelly and McCoy. Graham, a former first-round pick, has never quite been the player the Eagles imagined. In the 2014 draft, the Eagles were sitting with the No. 22 overall pick but didn’t pull the trigger on Johnny Manziel because they believed either he wasn’t the answer or Foles was. There are legitimate doubts about the latter. The Eagles can negotiate a new deal with Foles after this season but might be unwilling to give him a stout long-term pact. Foles hasn’t demonstrated an ability to run Kelly’s zone-read, and Mariota would allow him to expand the offense to its fullest potential. That’s a prospect that would make the Eagles even more dangerous.

NFL.com keeps the Eagles third in its power rankings, while the Cowboys jump from fourth to second:

The bye provided the Birds with an opportunity to get their offensive line a wee bit healthier. And Nick Foles got an extra week to figure out on tape what we’ve all been seeing on TV: He’s still missing receivers in stride.

Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles fourth in his power rankings:

“They’re all back.” Nope, not a quote from the latest Poltergeist remake, but rather how Chip Kelly began his post-bye week press conference — announcing the returns of Darren Sproles, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks from injury. The returns of Mathis and Kelce alone would be worth celebrating. With them, the Eagles might be able to bury their early-season O-line issues.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com puts together his list of top ten workhouse running backs with McCoy checking in at No. 4:

4) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles: The reigning rushing champ remains the most explosive runner in football, despite his pedestrian numbers in 2014. McCoy is a dynamic jitterbug with exceptional vision and burst. He freezes defenders with unique stop-start quickness, yet displays enough power and pop to blow through arm tackles in the hole. Although he only has one 100-yard game under his belt this fall, McCoy has shown signs of breaking out of his slump with the injury-riddled offensive line finding some continuity. Going forward, look for Chip Kelly’s offense to recapture its potency from 2013.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com puts together a list of the biggest disappointments from the current rookie class:

Marcus Smith, LB, Philadelphia Eagles, No. 26: Like Ford, Smith has barely played. Logging just 50 snaps for the Eagles, the rookie has been slowed by a position switch from outside to inside linebacker because of an injury to Mychal Kendricks. Blowing a coverage against the 49ers that led to a touchdown, Smith has yet to earn the trust of his coaches. “I think you’d lose the rest of the guys on your team if you say, ‘Why are you playing this guy? Just because we drafted him high,'” Chip Kelly said this month, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He has to prove that he deserves playing time.”

ESPN.com bumps the Eagles up one position to third in its power rankings:

Seven of the Eagles’ 21 touchdowns have come on defense or special teams (33 percent). No other team has more than 20 percent of its touchdowns on defense and special teams.

Peter King of the MMQB has the Eagles fifth in his Fine Fifteen:

Four of the next six on the road. The bye came at a good time. LeSean McCoy is starting to run with authority, but he could use a healthier offensive line.

With the Chargers’ loss to the Chiefs on Sunday, FoxSports.com pushes the Birds up one spot to second in its power rankings:

Coming out of the bye week, it will be interesting to see if the improved play on the offensive line and from LeSean McCoy was a mirage or the real deal.

Donovan McNabb elevates the Birds from eighth to fourth in his latest FoxSports.com power rankings:

Look out for a big performance from Chip Kelly’s squad as it heads to Arizona with an extra week to prepare.

CBSSports.com bumps the Eagles up from fifth to fourth in its power rankings:

They come off the bye with that huge game at Arizona. Foles against that Arizona defense will be fun.

Pro Football Talk also moves the Birds up one spot to fourth in its power rankings:

Philly returns to Arizona for perhaps the biggest game there since the Cardinals beat the Eagles in the 2008 NFC title game.

The Eagles stand pat at fourth in the USA Today power rankings:

Hope that bye was restful because they get Cardinals, Texans, Packers and Cowboys on the road over the next six weeks.

Andy Benoit of MMQB lists the Eagles-Cardinals game as his pick for ‘Smart Watching for Week 8’:

The Cardinals have a high volume defense built on a consortium of interior blitz concepts (both presnap and postsnap, disguised and faked). It’s doubtful they know how to play any other way. And, against the Eagles, they did not. Todd Bowles ran his usual stuff.

The brilliance of Chip Kelly’s system is that it forces teams to play that other way: more simplified. Because of the rapid tempo, it’s difficult for defenses to choreograph blitzes and disguises. Most are forced to plainly line up and just go.

The Cardinals did not do anything different in their preparation for the Eagles last year, other than have their practice squad operate at Philly’s torrid pace. This year’s defensive personnel is different, but Bowles’s approach and results have been the same. Expect Arizona to challenge Philly with its usual A-gap blitz concepts.

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.