Weekend Reading: Doug Pederson’s Impact
Here’s this weekend’s roundup of the national stories about the Eagles:
In his first year as head coach, Doug Pederson‘s leadership and philosophy is impacting the team, Michael Silver from NFL.com reports.
The way Pederson navigated the controversy, ultimately bringing [Sam] Bradford back into the fold as his presumptive No. 1 quarterback with no apparent hard feelings and minimal internal drama, tells us a lot about the 48-year-old rookie head coach’s forthright, guileless and — thus far, at least — well-received leadership style. Yet if Pederson had been completely honest, his response to Bradford’s trade demand might well have been reduced to two words of unambiguous awesomeness.
Pederson, after all, spent his entire 12-year NFL playing career as a quarterback facing far shakier employment circumstances than Bradford, and holding the place card could be a separate category on his résumé. Most notably, Pederson started the first nine games of the 1999 season for the Eagles until rookie Donovan McNabb, selected second overall the previous April, took over the position for the next 10 seasons.
Suffice it to say, Pederson wasn’t in position to raise a stink about that place-holding stint, nor did he complain the following season when he spent eight games as a fill-in starter for injured Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch, the first overall pick of the 1999 draft.
Albert Breer from the MMQB says that Sam Bradford is a player to watch after this week’s minicamp.
1. Eagles QB Sam Bradford. While Doug Pederson has gone to great lengths publicly to make clear that Bradford is the No. 1 in Philly, it’s clear inside the building that the veteran needs to earn the nod over Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz. That said, outside of Bradford’s brief holdout, it doesn’t seem like he’s done much to cast doubt on the idea he’ll win the job. And opponents did see a different guy in December last year, as Bradford gained his footing in Chip Kelly’s system and got more comfortable on his surgically repaired knee. Now, he just has to prove he can withstand another scheme change. “He definitely got better and more comfortable in the system as (2015) went on,” said one rival defensive coordinator. “I think there’s a huge difference in him from September compared to December. But now, he’s involved in the system change and there’s all the bitterness of his offseason. He’s definitely got an elite skill set still. He was the first pick in the draft, for crying out loud. But a quarterback has to understand the nuances of the system, he has to feel totally comfortable, and this is the fifth system on his career.”
Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports thinks that Bradford is a tier six quarterback based on a seven tier system.
Tier 6: Good luck with these guys
It’s generally not very pretty and while some of these guys came into the league with a lot of hype and high draft selection, consider me (in general) a distinct non-believer. Many of them make a lot of money … which speaks more to the overall state of quarterbacking in the NFL than it does to their actual on-field accomplishments. Buyer beware; they’ll do just enough just enough of the time to make some think they can actually get it done, which can be a very dangerous combination for general managers.
Sam Bradford QB / Philadelphia Eagles
Few men have made more money for doing less. Oft-injured and very rarely productive.
The Eagles rank near the bottom of the league with their group of cornerbacks, according to Ben Stockwell of Pro Football Focus.
29. Philadelphia Eagles
Top CBs: Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, Ron Brooks
Key stat: Rowe allowed a 80.3 passer rating last season when targeted, fifth-best by a rookie CB.
The Eagles have plenty of options at cornerback, and though the quarterbacks may steal the headlines, the battle for playing time at cornerback might be the best camp battle in Philadelphia this summer. Can Ron Brooks translate his familiarity with Jim Schwartz’s system into playing time? Can JaCorey Shepherd pick up where he left off when he tore his ACL a year ago and claim the slot role? Outside, the likes of Leodis McKelvin and Jaylen Watkins will put pressure on Nolan Carroll, and in particular, Eric Rowe to earn their starting spots ahead of the regular season.
The Eagles will fill one of their biggest needs on the offensive line, says Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com.
Philadelphia Eagles: Isaac Seumalo could be the Eagles’ starting left guard this season. The third-round pick missed OTAs because of Oregon State’s academic schedule. In his absence, Allen Barbre has remained No. 1 on the depth chart. But the Eagles’ determination to upgrade their guard play is as real as the $40 million they allotted for right guard Brandon Brooks. Seumalo will get every chance to establish himself on the left side. — Phil Sheridan
Two newcomers are some winners from OTAs and minicamp, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.
Leodis McKelvin and Rueben Randle, Philadelphia Eagles: We try to avoid overrating the endless barrage of offseason plaudits, but sometimes the kudos indicate playing time. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that cornerback McKelvin “stood out the most” during the offseason program. More importantly, he got all the starter snaps during OTAs and minicamp practices along with Ron Brooks. Last year’s starters Nolan Carroll and Eric Rowe remain on the team, but are not certain to start (McKelvin and Brooks have played under Jim Schwartz before).
On offense, Pederson highlighted Rueben Randle as someone that is emerging at wide receiver. Pederson admitted that Jordan Matthews is better off lining up in the slot and Josh Huff no longer has Chip Kelly’s support. Randle looks like a good bet to start.
If you’re already thinking about fantasy football for this season, Jake Ciely on the Fox Sports Fantasy 15 podcast isn’t a fan of drafting Zach Ertz.
I haven’t drafted him once, and I don’t necessarily see myself drafting him once, and it’s not really so much that of the coach, it’s the quarterback.
I’m looking at the situation and I just can’t get excited about this team from the quarterback perspective no matter who’s back there because, maybe it’s Bradford for 16 games and, he flashed some up side and people seem to forget about that before the injury the last time. He was putting together a good season, and that could happen again, but there’s so many doubts that come with him at the same time.
And if they do go to Wentz, [he] really needs a year to learn, so if they throw him out there and say ‘Oh he’s learning more than we thought he would,’ I’m not that confident…I’d just rather wait on Ertz just because of the questions that come with him.
Bobby Hoying is the Eagles’ worst starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era, writes Steven Ruiz of USA Today.
Eagles: Bobby Hoying (1997-1998)
The Eagles rolled out some truly awful quarterbacks between the [Randall] Cunningham and McNabb eras, and Hoying was the worst of those quarterbacks. The best thing to come from the Hoying era? This amazing highlight video.
The NFL’s YouTube account posted a video about the top three Eagles trick plays on Thursday. All three involve plays from the Donovan McNabb era, and two of the three involved Brian Westbrook.