Eagles Weekend Reading: Expanded Role For Matthews?

Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian - USA Today

Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian – USA Today

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News talked to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh about sports science:

“Principles aren’t written in stone,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “You’re always learning. You’re always growing. One method that applies one year doesn’t always apply the next year. You try to chase science. We do a good job of that. We don’t self-promote it like some people do. But we chase it. I think we’re cutting-edge with everything we do. Sleep studies, everything you can think of. Training, conditioning, injury-prevention, food, nutrition, practice schedules, workload.”

Sam Donnellon of the Daily News writes about the scarcity in the Eagles jersey market, now that Chip Kelly sees no one as untouchable:

The Eagles may not be done moving players this spring. And while that might excite you, it has absolutely petrified those in charge of area stores that carry team jerseys.

Petrified is the operative word here. Little inventory coming in, very little going out.

“I don’t know what Chip Kelly is doing,” Frank Sanders, the store manager of Lids Locker Room in the Cherry Hill Mall, was saying yesterday. “So, yeah, I’m a little nervous getting anything in here just yet.”

Nearby, Sports Authority is in a state of suspended animation as well, said employee Tina Lopez, saddled with an inventory of shirts of players no longer with the team. As for the new guys, she said, there are a few DeMarco Murray shirts available in their Turnersville store, but the district manager has made it clear: No big buys until we’re sure the guys who Chip brought in today are the same ones he will put on the field at summer’s end.

Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice is expecting big things from Jordan Matthews in 2015:

It was previously somewhat unclear if Matthews’ role would be expanded, seeing as the Eagles are quirky about who plays where. (See: Brandon Boykin riding the bench in favor of Bradley Fletcher). But the thought of Matthews standing on the sidelines while Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, or Miles Austin are on the field makes no sense whatsoever.

Jeremy Maclin was the Eagles’ volume catcher last season, hauling in 85 passes, or 18 more than Matthews, who finished second on the team. Maclin’s volume-catcher role will now likely go to Matthews.

Matthews is used to it. His last season at Vanderbilt, Matthews was responsible for 49.93% of his team’s receiving yards. That was the highest percentage of any of the 32 receivers who were drafted in 2014. Vanderbilt had the 67th ranked passing offense in the nation, and Matthews finished fourth in the nation both in receptions and receiving yards. In other words, Vanderbilt’s opponents knew who was getting the ball and Matthews still found a way to put up huge numbers anyway.

Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com likes how the Eagles’ activity in free agency has given them flexibility for the draft:

The Philadelphia Eagles’ signing of Miles Austin this week might make it seem less likely that they will target a wide receiver high in the NFL draft. But I think it might mean the opposite.

The draft is in four weeks. The last thing a team wants to do is go into that unpredictable crap shoot with an overwhelming hole on its roster. That leads to drafting for need, which leads to reaching for needs rather than drafting based on your grades. It leads, in other words, to mistakes.

Before signing Austin, wide receiver was arguably the biggest hole left for Chip Kelly to fill. Now that he is in the fold, the Eagles could still draft any wide receiver that catches their eye. Their commitment to Austin doesn’t make them less likely to draft a quality receiver for the long term.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz likes Arizona State safety Damarious Randall as an Eagles fit:

Damarious Randall – Arizona St – 5-11, 196 – Ideal fit for the Eagles. But a highly inconsistent player. Put on the USC game and you’ll be impressed. Watch the Oregon State game and you’ll be highly disappointed…or worse. As long as you don’t take him too early, worth a look because of the fit. Can play SS, FS or the slot.

Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation believes that UConn CB and combine stud Byron Jones could be the Eagles’ first-round pick, come April 30:

The only questionable part about this rumor is whether the Eagles like him enough to take him at No. 20. Is Jones a first round talent? For what it’s worth, some experts are expecting him to be an early second round pick.

Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah has him ranked as the No. 37 best prospect available. At one point earlier this offseason, however, Jeremiah also had the Eagles taking him at No. 20. Jones might not last until the Eagles’ second round pick at No. 52.

While Jones’ draft position is up for debate, his athleticism certainly is not. Here’s another look at his measurables. Also keep in mind he ran a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash at his pro day.