Weekend Reading: Would Manuel Make Sense For Eagles?
Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.
According to NFL.com, there’s a chance the Bills might be looking to part ways with quarterback E.J. Manuel this summer. And Chris Wesseling thinks the Eagles could make sense as his potential next landing spot:
If the Bills end up dangling Manuel for a late-round pick in August, keep an eye on the Eagles as a potential trade partner.
After recruiting Manuel at Oregon, Chip Kelly told NFL Network in the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft that the former Florida State star was a player he “didn’t get a chance to coach but would like a chance to coach.”
David Murphy of the Daily News notes that the Eagles’ top-four projected pass-catchers combined for fewer yards last season than the projected receiving corps of all but seven teams.
You do not need to apologize if that kind of thing makes you a wee bit nervous. If there is one thing Eagles fans know, it is mediocre receiving corps. It will take a lot more than a couple of big offensive numbers to wipe away the memories of Torrance Small, James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, and the Browns (Reggie and Na). Of the 13 highest single-season yardage totals posted by wide receivers since Andy Reid’s first year as head coach, [DeSean] Jackson or [Jeremy] Maclin owns nine of them.
Of all of the trust-me moves Kelly has made during his time here, his stocking of the wide receiver position is the one that makes you most understand the people who accuse this town of having gone loopy with its blind faith in the guy. Really, the only way to rationalize it is to look at the coach’s history and believe that he knows what he’s doing. At Oregon, his offense never required top-end talent. Marcus Mariota is the only skill position player Kelly recruited at Oregon who went on to become a first-round pick. The only other ones drafted besides [Josh] Huff were a couple of tight ends (Ed Dickson in the third round in 2010 and David Paulson in the seventh round in 2012) and a trio of running backs (LaMichael James in the second round in 2012, Kenjon Barner in the sixth round in 2013, De’Anthony Thomas in the fourth round in 2014).
Malcolm Jenkins told Mark Eckel of NJ.com that he sees an improved secondary this season:
“The change in philosophy is the biggest change,” Jenkins said after one of the team’s workouts at the NovaCare Complex. “And Cory Undlin is the most important pick up in that room. Even Maxwell, who has great technique and knows how to win, but I think getting coach Undlin is the biggest difference.”
CSN Philly reports on Connor Barwin’s efforts to renovate an inner-city playground:
A day after visiting victims of the Amtrak crash, Connor Barwin, an avid community service participant, was helping renovate Smith Playground in South Philadelphia on Thursday with many others.
“I grew up in this kind of environment,” Barwin said to Comcast SportsNet’s Leila Rahimi. “It was so important for my upbringing and the way I turned out that I think you try to give that to as many kids as possible.”
On Wednesday, Barwin and Eagles teammate Mark Sanchez visited Temple University Hospital to be with victims of the Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 which derailed and crashed Tuesday night.
On Thursday, Barwin was at it again, this time helping restore a commonplace for kids to play in the Philadelphia community.
“I have that unique opportunity to really make a difference and so I try to do that as much as possible,” Barwin said. “And this is an exciting project, this is such an active playground, it is so active and almost even overused, so we’re really going to try to make it a special place.”
Darren Sproles was listed at No. 81 on the NFL Network’s top 100 players, writes Chris McPherson:
Sproles may only be 5-6, 190 pounds, but he provided plenty of big moments for the Eagles in 2014 resulting in his first Pro Bowl selection in 10 NFL seasons. On Wednesday, Sproles was named the 81st best player in the NFL by his peers on the NFL Network Top 100 Players of 2015.
“I remember when we played them, I came downhill on him and he just juked me and just took off,” said Colts safety Mike Adams. “I think he scored on that play and it was a big third down. He plays big … he’s a phenomenal player.”
In his Eagles debut, Sproles took a handoff on a fourth-and-1 play and scored from 49 yards out to spark a comeback win over Jacksonville. One week later, in Indianapolis, Sproles earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors setting career highs in receiving yards (152) and yards from scrimmage (178) in the victory. Sproles scored on a spectacular 19-yard run, the one Adams was referring to, and had two receptions of 50 or more yards.
Don Banks of SI.com has the Eagles atop the NFC East in his post-offseason division rankings:
Other than relocate to Eugene and rename the franchise the Oregon Kellys, what haven’t the Eagles done this off-season? Head coach Chip Kelly has certainly gone to town on his roster, wheeling and dealing as if he was playing fantasy football for the first time. But lost in all the sexy headlines is Philly’s obvious improvement on defense, with Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, Walter Thurmond and Eric Rowe added to the NFL’s 31st-ranked pass defense in 2014. If Sam Bradford stays healthy and flourishes in Kelly’s passer-friendly offense, and DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews combine to top what LeSean McCoy provided in the backfield, the Eagles will make all Kelly’s bold moves look smart.