Weekend Reading: Less Optimism About Maclin?
Here are some Eagles-related weekend links worth checking out.
On 97.5, Adam Caplan suggested re-signing Jeremy Maclin might not be as easy as some believe because he switched agents from Ben Dogra to Tom Condon (via Bleeding Green Nation):
But I just think that had Maclin not left Dogra, it wouldn’t have surprised me if a deal would have got done already. I think that’s how good the [Eagles-Dogra] relationship is.
So they’ve got to work through this. This will not be easy. But again, I’m just going to make this very clear: I’m not nearly as optimistic. I thought it was an absolute lock when Dogra was there because I kind of know this was going with those guys.
Rumors continue to swirl over Chip Kelly‘s affinity for Marcus Mariota. However, Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com believes that the Eagles simply may not have enough firepower to get high enough to land him:
The Eagles would have to make multiple moves to even get into an area where they could tempt the Bucs. Philadelphia probably would have to get at least one more first-round pick in this year’s draft and include next year’s first-round choice. Veteran players also could be part of the deal, but they usually don’t carry a lot of weight in these situations.
The Bucs would be wise to listen to any and all offers because they could get a huge bounty for the top pick. But, no matter how much Kelly wants Mariota, he might not have the resources to make it happen.
Meanwhile, Paul Domowitch of the Daily News looks into the Eagles’ success on third-and-short, despite Kelly’s reluctance to run the ball:
The Eagles’ offense finished ninth in third-down efficiency this season, converting 43.5 percent of its third-down opportunities. That’s an improvement over last season, when they ranked 12th with a 39.0 percent success rate. That’s impressive when you consider that they didn’t have a lot of manageable third-down situations. The Eagles had the ninth-lowest rate (25.3 percent) of third downs of 3 yards or fewer. They converted 65.0 percent of them, which was the seventh-best mark in the league. They were first last year (66.7 percent).
Chip Kelly’s lack of faith in his run game was evident on third down. The Eagles ran on just 45 percent of their third-down plays of 3 yards or fewer. Last year, they ran 74.1 percent of the time on third-and-3 or less. What’s interesting about Kelly’s reluctance to run in short-yardage situations is that the Eagles finished second to Pittsburgh in converting situations of 2 yards or less into first downs (70.0 percent) and had a league-best 79.6 percent first-down success rate when they ran with 2 yards or less to go. LeSean McCoy had just 15 rushing attempts on third down the entire season, even though he averaged 5.1 yards per carry on third down.
Jimmy Kempski of The Philly Voice talks about how edge rusher Nate Orchard might not be a fit in Billy Davis‘s 3-4 scheme:
In my Day 2 notes, I noted that Nate Orchard was a legit option for the Eagles at 20. I would like to immediately flip flop. Orchard has been a terror all week rushing the passer both from a two point stance and with his hand in the dirt. However, today was the first day we got to get a good look at him in coverage. In a word… Ew. Orchard is more likely to end up as a 4-3 DE.
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News notes how Kelly was able to turn around the Eagles’ special teams this past offseason:
Kelly won the NFC East and presided over the NFC’s best offense in his debut season. But that first year was a learning experience and one of the lessons Kelly learned was that he needed better special teams.
Philadelphia finished 18th in the NFL in special teams in 2013, so Kelly undertook a sweeping upgrade last offseason.
Kelly traded for returner Darren Sproles and kicker Cody Parkey and signed a pair of special-teams coverage aces in free agency, Bryan Braman from the Texans and Chris Maragos from the Seahawks. Kelly also hit on undrafted college freeagent Trey Burton and street freeagent Chris Prosinski for his coverage units.
The changes were dramatic. The Eagles vaulted all the way to the top of the league in special teams, finishing first in the 2014 NFL special-teams rankings compiled annually by The Dallas Morning News.
Plenty of doubt has been cast towards the Eagles’ new front office structure and Kelly’s additional responsibilities, but Jason Kelce told CSN Philly that his coach is fit for his new role:
“We do things a different way than most NFL teams do them,” Jason Kelce said. “He has a clear, direct vision. A clear, direct idea of what he wants to get done.
“That’s not saying anything with anybody else in the organization, that’s the way he’s done it. He did it at Oregon and he wants to do it here.
“Obviously, we all have a tremendous amount of trust in what Chip is doing and the way this organization is headed,” Kelce said. “Anytime he’s given more control, then that’s just the organization showing faith in him and reaffirms it with us.”
Tucker Bagley is a student at Temple University and a spring intern at Birds 24/7.