What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Some Eagles reading to take in as the second OTA open to the media kicks off later this morning.
Sam Bradford is one of five NFC players who could lose their starting jobs to rookies, writes John Breitenbach of Pro Football Focus.
Bradford failed to engineer a trade following Philadelphia’s trade up to the No. 2 pick to draft Wentz, only piling further pressure on himself to play well in the offseason and preseason. At least he is fully healthy this offseason (unlike last year), improving his chances of hitting the ground running. He has proven to be an average NFL starter during his career, when he has been healthy, and he is coming off the best-graded season of his career (81.5 grade, 11th among QBs). But he’ll likely need to play at that level or higher to maintain his starting job throughout 2016.
Plenty of elements of Wentz’s game suggest he needs time before becoming an NFL starter. His timing and anticipation need work, in particular. That said, a poor start for the team will likely motivate the coaching staff to speed up his development and get him on the field year one. Wentz’s arm strength, short location and decision-making suggest he’s not too far away from taking meaningful snaps. On a per-snap basis, his passing grade in college topped this class. It’s perfectly possible Wentz will seize the starting job in 2016.
Jared Dubin of CBS Sports lists three positive — and negative — offseason developments for the Eagles.
1. They gave up too much to go get Wentz.
The No. 8, No. 77, and No. 100 picks in this year’s draft, plus a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick. That’s a whole lot of value to give up. As we wrote at the time, the Browns won the “value” of the trade based on this year’s picks alone. Factor in the future picks and it’s a landslide. The Eagles could, of course, be right about Wentz being a franchise QB. If they are, this trade isn’t a terrible one. If they’re wrong, it’s a disaster. And considering the track record teams have of identifying good quarterback prospects (especially when trading up), it’s more likely that they’re wrong than that they’re right.
2. They fired a good coach because he was a bad GM.
In 2013, Chip Kelly took over a team that went 4-12 and was outscored by over 10 points per game the year before. In two-plus seasons as head coach, Kelly led the Eagles to a 26-21 record, including back-to-back 10-6 campaigns in his first two years. His quarterbacks during that time were Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford — that’s not exactly a murderer’s row of talent. But Kelly gave out a couple bad contracts during his first offseason as the team’s lead personnel man, and it led to his ouster. It’s possible the result turns out OK, but it’s hard to imagine a coach being able to get better results out of the roster during the past three seasons, so the process needs to be scrutinized.
Marus Smith is one of the Eagles with the most to prove, writes ESPN’s Phil Sheridan.
Excluding the obvious (QB Sam Bradford), Smith is the Eagle with the most to prove. The Eagles took the outside linebacker/defensive end in the first round in 2014, when they could have taken a cornerback or a QB (Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr). Smith barely played and had virtually no impact in his first two seasons. With new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz emphasizing the pass rush, Smith gets a fresh look in a scheme that should fit him better. It’s now or never. — Phil Sheridan
Jimmy Kempski questions why Doug Pederson named Allen Barbre the starter at left guard.
When asked if Pederson would rotate guards in and out of the first team lineup, Pederson indicated that was not the plan. “Right now it is Allen Barbre’s job,” he said, “and I think again that’s something we did through the draft and a little bit of free agency is to kind of shore up that spot. I really like where we’re at. I like the depth at that position right now. But yeah, Allen Barbre is my guy and he’s our starter.”
Barbre did not play well a season ago, and he’ll turn 32 in June. He also counts for $1,950,000 on the cap in 2016, $1,650,000 of which the Eagles could save if he were to be cut or traded. It would be a significant benefit if one of the Eagles’ younger and cheaper options were to outperform Barbre and win that job outright in camp. It’s somewhat puzzling why it’s Barbre’s to lose.
Jason Peters is the 22nd-best undrafted player in NFL history, according to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt.
Signed by: Buffalo Bills
NFL seasons: 12
First year: 2004
Pro Bowls: 8
All-Pro selections: 2
Notes: Originally a defensive end at Arkansas, Peters moved to tight end. Peters’ abilities as a blocker prompted a move to offensive line in the NFL.
Receiver is the Eagles’ biggest weakness, says NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal.
Nelson Agholor was the least productive starting receiver per snap in football last season. And the team never found any real competition for him with Josh Huff and Rueben Randle next in line. This is a roster that has many options at many positions: quarterback, offensive line and tight end included. Sam Bradford has not shown the ability to elevate his teammates and that will be necessary with this receiver crew.
Connor Barwin is the 43rd-best male athlete in sports, notes Sports Illustrated.
Drafted by the Eagles in 2009, Barwin is a specimen NFL defensive end at 6’4” and 265 pounds. He has displayed an incredible work ethic and strength on the field, which he gets from a killer training regimen, complete with recovery methods and proper nutrition.
The NFL “improperly attempted to influence” concussion research, according to a congressional investigation.
The investigation was launched after ESPN reported in December that the NFL, which had promised as much $30 million for the study of the debilitating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), withheld funding from the NIH due to the involvement of researchers from Boston University.
“The NFL’s interactions with NIH and approach to funding the BU study fit a longstanding pattern of attempts to influence the scientific understanding of the consequences of repeated head trauma,” the report released by the Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce states. “These efforts date back to the formation of the NFL’s now-discredited (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) Committee, which attempted to control the scientific narrative around concussions in the 1990s.”
The NFL said it “rejects the allegations” laid out in the report, according to a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports.
The NFL had promised millions in 2012 to the NIH through the Foundation for NIH (FNIH), a nonprofit set up to facilitate funding to the NIH from the private sector. Such funding isn’t supposed to alter how grants are issued, something the report alleged occurred as the NFL voiced misgivings of funding the project led by Boston University, which has diagnosed CTE in the brains of dozens of former NFL players.