What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.
Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB offers thoughts on Evan Mathis.
I think the biggest surprise of the Evan Mathis release is that the Eagles couldn’t recoup some value for him via trade. The $5.5 million salary must have been a non-starter, but his price tag could creep pretty high for interested teams in free agency. The fact that Chip Kelly made the move nonetheless, proves how committed he is to doing things his way.
Robert Mays of Grantland weighs in on the Eagles’ new-look secondary:
Replacing Williams on the right side is the handsomely compensated Byron Maxwell, who turned his time with the Legion of Boom into a six-year, $63 million deal with $25 million guaranteed. It’s a familiar scenario for a former no. 2: getting paid like — and being expected to play like — the top guy. Across from him will likely be second-round pick Eric Rowe, who played safety early in his career at Utah before moving to corner as a senior. At 6-foot-1, he has the body type the Eagles coaches are looking for on the outside, and in him and Maxwell, Bill Davis will have the length he covets at his corner spots. Defensively, better play from the secondary is really the last piece the Eagles are waiting for. They finished seventh in run-defense DVOA last year behind one of the deepest lines in football, and their pass rush was among the best in the league. If Maxwell and Rowe provide a significant upgrade, the Eagles defense has a chance to be among the best in football.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com says he still has trust in Chip Kelly:
Still, I have to think Kelly knows what he’s doing. It takes guts to trade a starting quarterback, but Kelly did come away with the better player in Sam Bradford — and the position should be upgraded, provided Bradford stays healthy. Adding DeMarco Murray made up for losing McCoy. Kiko Alonso — acquired from the Bills in the McCoy swap — seems to be getting overlooked, but he’s a strong defender who will contribute in a big way. At the end of the day, I have a lot of faith in Kelly.
Adam Schein of NFL.com has Fletcher Cox as his sixth-most indispensable defensive player:
I cringed when Cox’s name was thrown around in trade talks this offseason. Cox is a disruptive diamond in the middle of the Eagles’ defense. He’s also the best player on the team.
No, Cox doesn’t get enough credit for his greatness. The raw stats don’t tell the story here. I voted for him as a first-team All-Pro last year. Philadelphia’s defense simply couldn’t function without him.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland takes a look at how Jordan Matthews will be affected by the Eagles’ offseason moves:
He also gained more yards during that time span than either DeSean Jackson or then-teammate Jeremy Maclin, who both left Philadelphia in recent offseasons. With Chip Kelly placing an emphasis on drafting bigger, stronger receivers, it’s no surprise that he coveted the 6-foot-3, 212-pound Matthews in the second round of the 2014 draft. And while the Eagles did use a 2015 first-round pick on USC’s Nelson Agholor, they didn’t add any veterans who should take meaningful targets away from Matthews. With Maclin’s 143 targets leaving town, Matthews is the most likely player to lead the Eagles in targets — and receptions — this year.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com identifies each team’s weakness:
Safety: Malcolm Jenkins is a nice player at one safety spot, but the other is a major concern. Earl Wolff was expected to be the starter, but he hasn’t been back on the field after having knee surgery last season. That forced the move of corner Walter Thurmond inside. While he has the tools, it will be an adjustment. They did draft Eric Rowe from Utah, but he looks to be set at corner, even though he spent time at safety for the Utes.
Conor Orr of NFL.com thinks the Giants could make sense for Mathis:
Mathis held out of workouts due to a contract dispute and is the latest in a long line of players to defect from Chip Kelly island with a bit of an attitude. Is there a better place for him to go than a division rival that desperately needs help along their offensive line?
The Giants, who have lost left tackle Will Beatty for the foreseeable future, are now depending on rookie Ereck Flowers to hold down the position. Signing Mathis would at least give them an immediate-assistance option to Flowers’ inside, or he could give them the flexibility of moving guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz to tackle. Mathis, a zone blocking specialist, would feel relatively at home in a scheme not unlike the one he used to run with Andy Reid. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo brought many zone principles with him from Green Bay. –Conor Orr
Robert Klemko of The MMQB has Pat Shurmur No. 11 on his list of potential head coaching candidates:
Résumé: Another Browns refugee, Shurmur had interest from the Bills and Raiders this offseason and should garner more after a successful Year 3 in Chip Kelly’s system. He returned to most teams’ radar after Nick Foles’ unbelievable 2013 season, in which he threw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Our most plugged-in sources rated him higher than others did, though several respondents indicated poor relationships with players. Doesn’t mean he can’t be a head coach.
M.O.: His two-year tenure in Cleveland really wasn’t long enough to offer a full illustration of his head-coaching abilities. And little-known secret: it’s Shurmur, not Chip Kelly, who oversees most of the passing game concepts in Philadelphia. (Kelly is a running game guy.)