Weekend Reading: Momah Making Strides

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Some links to pass along. Eagles have the day off and are back at it Sunday.

Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports has the Eagles sixth in his preseason power rankings. 

This team’s best-case scenario for the 2014 season: The Eagles are like most of the other good NFC teams – very strong but probably not strong enough to defeat either of the two beasts from the NFC West come playoff time. Still, the Eagles should be shooting for a first-round bye. The way the team played in the second half, after it committed to Foles at quarterback, hints at its potential. The defense still needs work, but there should be plenty of optimism in Philadelphia.

And here’s the nightmare scenario: Regression is going to hit Foles, and hit him hard. Now, he could regress and still put up very good numbers. But two interceptions in 317 attempts is not happening again. Combine that with a defense that looks average, and maybe the Eagles will struggle more than anyone expects. If all the Giants’ offseason moves pay off, perhaps they can upset Philadelphia and win the NFC East.

The crystal ball says: I think the Eagles win the East easily. There’s a reasonable scenario in which they’re the only decent team in that division, which would set them up to post a really good record and get that first-round bye. And, at that point, you’re just one home win away from playing for a conference title. The Eagles don’t have the defense to match up with the 49ers or Seahawks, but a trip to the NFC championship game would be a pretty good season. It would also be enough to get Eagles fans thinking big, especially with another offseason to add a couple impact pieces on defense.

Michael Irvin talked to Riley Cooper on the one-year mark of his racial comments going viral. From NFL.com.

Cooper posted a line of 47/835/8 in Jeremy Maclin’s absence and will take on an even bigger role inChip Kelly’s offense with DeSean Jackson in D.C. The media whirlwind that followed his racist remarkcaused a big distraction, but Cooper says the support of his teammates allowed him to focus on football.

“Obviously, I was very embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed about the situation,” Cooper told NFL Media’s Michael Irvin on Thursday. “Words hurt, and I’m crushed by it. But it felt good to know my teammates were supporting me. Just a simple, ‘Hey Coop, I’m here for you man’ or ‘Hey, praying for you man.’ ‘Hey, I got your back.’

“It meant a lot to me,” Cooper continued. “That was a huge deal, nationwide. That is a big deal. And to have the support from the guys that know ya, it meant a lot.”

Zach Berman checks in on receiver Ifeanyi Momah, who ran with the first team Friday in the absence of Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.

Momah still must beat the odds to make the roster, but he was encouraged while taking snaps with the starting unit. Riley Cooper and Jeff Maehl both wore boots on their right foot because of injury, and Jeremy Maclin sat out a few team drills for unknown reasons. So Momah, Arrelious Benn, and Brad Smith all played with the top group.

“He’s ahead of where he was last year,” coach Chip Kelly said. “I think it’s just a better understanding of what’s going on.”

Momah’s size stands out. He is the tallest wide receiver in the NFL and the second heaviest. Wide receiver Bob Bicknell clocked Momah last year running a 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds, so there is speed that intrigues the Eagles. That speed was not apparent on the field last season, when getting in and out of breaks appeared an issue.

Count Jimmy Kempski among those impressed by what Nolan Carroll is doing. 

[W]hat Carroll has shown so far has been very impressive. In OTAs and minicamp, when defensive backs are not allowed to jam receivers, the advantage is blatantly slanted toward the offense. Even then, Carroll did a great job breaking up passes. Now that the pads are on and the DBs are allowed to get their hands on receivers, the secondary has looked better to an obvious degree. The defense as a group has in turn also gotten their hands on a lot of footballs, but none more than Carroll. He has been a pass breakup machine.

At the end of the 2014 season, Bradley Fletcher will be a free agent. In 2015, Cary Williams will count for over $8 million against the salary cap. Carroll is a legitimate candidate to start this season, but even if he can’t crack the starting lineup, he’ll serve as very good depth, and could provide the Eagles with another option at CB in 2015 if Fletcher’s or Williams’ long term standing with the team are in doubt.