What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Here is a rundown of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com rates Marcus Smith as the second-most disappointing rookie of 2014, behind 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward:

When the Philadelphia Eagles went out on a limb and took him in the first round, there was a lot of people who wondered if they reached for him because I didn’t necessarily see a first-round player, but you take him there and you expect him to be a significant contributor. He only played 74 snaps as a rookie, registering one tackle. That is not the kind of production you need from a first-round pick. He couldn’t work his way into the rotation, in year two it has to be better or the criticism will not only be levied at Marcus Smith, but it will come down on Chip Kelly for wasting a first-round pick on a guy that doesn’t give you significant contributions.

Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk reflects on another Eagles draft bust: running back Jay Berwanger out of the University of Chicago:

With the first pick in the first NFL draft held 79 years ago Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles took the first-ever Heisman Trophy winner.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

Well, it didn’t quite work out for the Eagles.

The first selection, University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger, never played a down for Philadelphia. In fact, by draft’s end, the Bears had acquired Berwanger’s negotiating rights, according to the Associated Press, which reported the Eagles were worried they couldn’t meet Berwanger’s asking price of $1,000 per game. (Berwanger, for his part, would tell the AP he never asked Philadelphia for $1,000 per contest.)

In the end, the Bears would have no luck getting Berwanger signed, either. The 1935 Heisman Trophy winner purportedly asked Bears owner George Halas for $25,000 over two years, though there’s some question as to whether that ever happened, per ESPNChicago.com.

Chris Korman of USA Today looks at what’s in store for the Eagles this offseason:

Chip Kelly learned the hard way in 2014 that an innovative, quick-fire offense can indeed punish any defense – especially his own. Philadelphia’s offense wasn’t quite as effective – thanks to injuries at the QB position – and the defense was forced to spend too much time on the field. It finished 31st in passing yards allowed and looked feeble in losses to Green Bay – the Packers scored 53 points – and in a late-season three-game losing streak against Seattle, Dallas and Washington that cost the team a playoff spot.

Contract issues: The Eagles aren’t in terrible shape here. Leading receiver Jeremy Maclin is a free agent and Philly would like to keep him. Outside linebacker Brandon Graham, also unrestricted, has played well but is not a great fit for the scheme. Another pass rusher, Trent Cole, could become a cap casualty because of his $11.6 million hit. CB Cary Williams is supposed to earn more than $8 million but has been a major disappointment.

Draft pickings: Kelly’s yearning for a reunion with QB Marcus Mariota, who he coached at Oregon, is well known – but highly unlikely. Philly picks 20th and will likely focus on defense, where corner and linebacker are the most-glaring areas of need.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com believes that Nick Foles would benefit from fewer pass calls in 2015:

The glass was half-full for Foles after he finished the 2013 season with 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. Perceptions will change after a tougher 2014 season. Foles saw his dropbacks per game climb from 27.9 in 2013 to 40.8 last season, the largest increase in the league for regular starters. [Colin] Kaepernick and [Jay] Cutler trended similarly, likely at the expense of efficiency. [Tony] Romo and Joe Flacco were among the quarterbacks who trended toward fewer dropbacks. Their efficiency improved.

Dan Hanzus of NFL.com has Mark Sanchez listed as his top free-agent quarterback:

Things started well for the Sanchize with the Eagles. Who can forget a glowing Sanchize wolfing down cheesesteaks after he thrived on Monday Night Football in his first game in place of an injured Nick Foles? Sanchez gradually returned to form, however, and was a major reason the Eagles tumbled from the playoff picture in late December. It speaks volumes that he’s the consensus best option on the market.

In his final power rankings, Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles at No. 16:

Forgive me if I am rooting for Mark Sanchez to succeed. It might not be with the Eagles, but I don’t think the free agent-to-be is as good as gone quite yet — if Nick Foles were to be traded, as some have rumored, Philly would need a veteran around. Despite a poor finish, Sanchez definitely showed some flashes last season. Sometimes players need six or seven years to develop. And there is no question that Sanchez has taken more of a public beating than any beating he ever took on the field. As far as Foles is concerned, the starting gig would seem to be his, in theory — yet fans can’t help but wonder if his brilliant 2013 campaign was a mirage. The lanky quarterback missed a lot of throws early in the season. Having an offensive line with all five guys healthy would be a helluva start for whoever ends up under center. Will they draft someone? Matt Barkley? (Remember him?)

Former Eagles president Joe Banner thinks Chip Kelly is a winner, but isn’t completely sold on Bills coach Rex Ryan: