What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here is what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Andy Benoit of MMQB is calling Billy Davis’ bluff when it comes to the size of corners on the outside:

I think Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis is blowing hot air when he says a smaller stature will have no impact on the 5-10, 185-pound Brandon Boykin’s potential for the starting cornerback job opposite Byron Maxwell. “If you’re good enough, you’re big enough,” said Davis, who runs a lot of Seahawks-style coverages (only with a few more disguises). But if good enough equaled big enough, Boykin would have replaced the floundering Bradley Fletcher at some point last season. Some guys are just built for the slot—nothing wrong with that. Boykin will still play about 60 percent of the snaps this year—not as good as 100 percent, yes, but better than being asked to employ press techniques you’re not built for.

Field Yates of ESPN.com ranks the top-10 running backs based on their potential for the next three years. Adrian Peterson tops the list, while DeMarco Murray finishes eighth, one slot ahead of LeSean McCoy:

The reigning rushing king, Murray departed Dallas this offseason and signed with Philadelphia. And while 2014 may well prove to be the best season of his career, it also illuminated what makes him special as a runner: He is decisive and explosive in the open field, and he didn’t break down amid a huge workload. Injuries had been a previous limitation in his career, but not even a broken hand could keep him off the field in 2014.

Don Banks of SI.com looks at how Ryan Mathews felt while the Eagles were pursuing Murray:

Mathews said he never flinched on joining Philly, even after Murray, 27, entered the picture, insisting that he “welcomed” the Eagles’ pursuit of the former Cowboys star, who led the NFL with 1,845 yards rushing in 2014 and helped to lead Dallas to its first playoff berth since 2009. It’s not every day that the league’s top rusher changes teams—before Murray, the last to do so was Bill Dudley, who was traded from the Steelers to the Lions after the 1947 season.

“I was real excited, because I’ve always liked how he ran the ball in Dallas,” Mathews said. “I knew it was going to be either [Frank] Gore or him, and they’re both great backs, so I wasn’t shying away or hesitant about it or anything. I knew I wanted to be here, and involved in what they have going on.”

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus/ESPN.com ranked the talent of all 32 NFL rosters, placing the Eagles sixth, which is good for the top spot in the division, but one slot lower than they were ranked last season:

Head coach Chip Kelly’s offseason overhaul still has the Eagles in good shape, particularly along the offensive line, which is one of the NFL’s best units when healthy. Adding Sam Bradford at quarterback probably doesn’t provide much of a change in production from what Kelly has gotten out of Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez the past two years, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At running back, [DeMarco] Murray and Ryan Mathews combine with the versatile Darren Sproles to give the offense multiple options.

Defensively, the Eagles are led by defensive end [Fletcher] Cox up front, while outside linebacker [Brandon] Graham will get his first extended look as a starter after five productive seasons in a part-time role. The addition of Kiko Alonso will help the middle-of-the-field coverage, while Mychal Kendricks continues to improve every year. The position to watch is cornerback, where Byron Maxwell comes over from Seattle, and Nolan Carroll will battle rookies Eric Rowe and JaCorey Shepherd for the starting role vacated by the departing Bradley Fletcher, who was coming off a disastrous 2014.

Joe Banner weighs in on the Evan Mathis situation:

ESPN’s Louis Riddick offers some thoughts from his day at the NovaCare Complex:

Jay Glazer on Lane Johnson’s potential after having worked with the Eagles right tackle:

This was in the Wake-Up Call, but in case you missed it, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com chimes in on the QB situation:

With that saga behind them, the summer of Sam vs. Sanchez awaits, with the likes of Nick Foles and Mike Vick no longer a part of the equation. If Kelly can get what he expects out of the likes of Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz as pass catchers (“they have to kick these guys out of the building,” Sanchez said of their work ethic), along with a completely overhauled expensive backfield, and reshuffling this offensive line on the fly, then this team stands to be positioned to put up plenty of points. Heck, even if the line isn’t what it used to be, Kelly has displayed that he’s going to score aplenty, and we’ll see whether this outfit is truly better equipped to stop the other team from doing that exact same thing. If not, another year out of the postseason could be looming.

Despite all of that, these Eagles came close enough to the playoffs a year ago with a less Kelly-proven Sanchez at the helm, and given Bradford’s injury history it may be naïve not to project multiple men taking snaps under center for this bunch. And, personally, whether it’s a hunch born of happening to take in a random practice or not, I have a feeling in the end Sanchez might actually get the most work of them all.

Peter King of the MMQB gave a couple of thoughts on the Eagles run game on Monday:

4. I think one of the football stories we’ve paid far too little attention to this offseason is what the Eagles have done with their skill positions. Added: running backs DeMarco Murray (the number one rusher in the league in 2014) and Ryan Mathews (number seven in 2013), first-round receiver Nelson Agholor. Subtracted: running back LeSean McCoy, wideout Jeremy Maclin. With Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles—who, I’m told, is still a major favorite of Chip Kelly—I think you’ll see the Eagles be a top-three rushing team in 2015. That is: If they’re efficient at it, the Eagles will be in the top three in the NFL in rushing attempts this year.

5. I think you’re surprised by that, aren’t you? Don’t be. In Kelly’s first two seasons as an NFL coach, his Eagles were fifth in 2013 and seventh in 2014 in rushing attempts per game. With a quarterback, Sam Bradford, that the Eagles don’t want to expose to more punishment than necessary, and a potential workhorse back in Murray, the Eagles are strong candidates to run the ball more than half of their offensive snaps. That’s something no one thought Kelly would do as an NFL coach.