What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s this week’s national media roundup of what they’re saying about the Eagles:

The Eagles’ over-under for wins is 6.5 or 7, depending on the sportsbook. Dave Tuley of ESPN Insider likes the under:

We’re just two years removed from the Eagles being referred to as the “Dream Team.” But after two disappointing seasons, head coach Andy Reid is gone and replaced by Oregon’s Chip Kelly and his wide-open spread offense. There’s reason for optimism, but I’m not sure the team will fully adapt to the new system in his first season.

Ben Muth of Football Outsiders thinks Lane Johnson will be a good NFL tackle, but he has serious questions about his pass-blocking right now:

Johnson is a pretty horrific fundamental pass blocker who probably wouldn’t have gone in the top five in any other draft. Well, maybe the 2000 NBA Draft. Nothing he does can’t be fixed, but if you’re taking someone that early, you would probably like a few less loose nails. Let’s start with the fact that he leads with his head all the time. …

If Johnson doesn’t learn to use his hands and keep his distance, guys are going to be grabbing the back of his pads and pulling themselves right through to the quarterback.

It’s worth noting that Muth is a former college offensive lineman. He played at Stanford from 2004 to 2008.

Chris Burke of SI.com looks at position battles to watch this summer, including the Eagles’ competition at outside linebacker:

Two of these three guys should start outside in the Eagles’ 3-4 defense. But who’s going to be the odd man out? Cole started 16 games for the Eagles last year, while Graham stepped in and delivered 5.5 sacks after inheriting a starting role late. Despite those numbers, Philadelphia still went out and handed $36 million to Barwin in free agency, a hint that the front office did not want to rely on the Cole-Graham combo.

Burke also says the secondary is the Eagles’ biggest question mark:

Chip Kelly wasted no time trying to reform the Eagles’ defense. Two new cornerbacks, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, and two new safeties, Pat Chung and Kenny Phillips, could take the field to start Week 1. That group doesn’t carry the big-name potential of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but the Eagles need a more cohesive secondary this season than those former stars provided.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

Chip Kelly is doing things differently, but time will tell if it can work. We know the Eagles will play faster, but who is the triggerman?

Prisco offers his thoughts on the QB situation too:

I bet for now Vick is the guy. He would seem to be a good fit with what Chip Kelly wants to do. But what if Kelly likes Barkley and sees him as his quarterback of the future? Does he go to him early? The early word is that it’s an open competition. I bet Vick starts on opening day.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com looks at the Eagles’ QB battle:

Michael Vick last week called his critics a pack of ignorants who “know nothing about football,” but here’s what we do know: The 32-year-old quarterback was a goner in Philly before Chip Kelly replaced Andy Reid. Now Vick looms as the logical starter heading into camp. Vick admits that Kelly recently “taught” him how to properly hold the football while running with it. For real. It’s pretty clear Kelly is digging in. Foles, meanwhile, showed growth last season, and Barkley — a seemingly odd fit for the Eagles — has an outside chance for snaps. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kelly use all three. Advantage: Vick.

Gary Horton of ESPN Insider looks at how Chip Kelly’s scheme will translate to the NFL, and he likes how Matt Barkley fits:

He is accurate in the short-to-intermediate passing game, with not a lot of vertical passes required; he is good on the play-fake; and he has underrated pocket mobility.

However, his most desired quality in this offense may be his command in the huddle. This guy has been in a lot of big games, he can get his offense into a play quickly and he should be comfortable with the pace of the offense — and there is nothing that Barkley hasn’t already seen. He could be ready to step in and run this offense with success after one season behind Vick.

ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano weighs in on the importance of a healthy Jason Peters:

The Eagles need Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce back on the offensive line, and they need first-round pick Lane Johnson to play well at right tackle. But the most important offensive line recovery is that of Peters, who brings something to the equation no one else brings. He needs not only to be healthy, but to play like his old, spry self.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.