Weekend Reading: Ertz Learns From Nova Title Team

Plus: A number of Eagles meet with Philadelphia Police regarding police brutality.

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Here’s this weekend’s roundup of the national stories about the Eagles:

First, the Eagles made a roster move on Friday. They released wide receiver Jonathan Krause, per a press release from the team.

The organization decided to part ways with wide receiver Jonathan Krause on Friday. Krause (undrafted) joined the team’s practice squad following Week 2 and was later signed to the active roster in Week 12 of the 2015 season. He played in his first NFL game on December 6, 2015 against the New England Patriots and recorded his first career catch.

The former Vanderbilt Commodore registered a career-high 42 catches as well as 714 receiving yards during his senior year in 2013. Krause had previous stints with the Cleveland Browns and Patriots.

The team also reportedly plans to add two defensive players to fill up some spots at linebacker and safety.

Zach Ertz learned something from the National Champion Villanova basketball team, in his latest post on his website.

One of the things that kind of stood out when he spoke was how Nova dealt with some down years. After they got to the Final Four in 2009, they kind of changed their program a little bit and they weren’t successful for a few years. They realized why they weren’t successful, so they went back, and changed the process. They focused on getting the guys that fit Villanova, guys that Coach [Jay] Wright knew he could mold into the players that he wanted on his team.

Not long after, they’re out there winning the National Championship.

That really stuck with me. I look at it as a lesson in life: When you have a little bit of success, it’s not a time to go out there and change the process. It’s a time to stick to what works, and really try to improve on it.

It was very applicable to what we’re doing. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of turnover these past couple of years. But I think the team, the guys and the character of the guys we have on this team right now will to allow us to build for the next 10 years.

Last season, the Eagles were terrific in defending screen passes, according to Aaron Schatz for ESPN.com.

The Eagles were excellent at defending screens, compiling a minus-45.3 percent DVOA against running back screens and a minus-45.8 percent DVOA against wide receiver and tight end screens. Overall, Philly’s minus-27.1 percent DVOA on passes behind the line of scrimmage ranked third in the league.

Conor Orr of NFL.com gives his predictions for what to expect out of Nelson Agholor this season in his Training Camp preview of the team.

2. What can we reasonably expect from Nelson Agholor?

Agholor made some spectacular plays as a rookie during last year’s preseason, leading us to believe that [Chip] Kelly finally had found the embodiment of his offense in the USC wide receiver. In the regular season, that led to 23 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown. There is no denying Agholor’s talent, but there is a question as to how he’ll fit in with a more practical NFL-style offense under his second head coach. As a subplot, it will be important to watch how often and where the Eagles float Rueben Randle with the starting offense. Randle was taken as a low-cost flier in free agency despite some heavy production with the NFC East-rival Giants over the course of his rookie contract. A shifting playbook and a demanding quarterback stunted Randle’s growth with the Giants, but he is a strong, NFL-conditioned body who could compete for snaps early.

Way-too-early season prediction: The NFC East is going to be ho-hum again this year, but out of any team that could take charge, Philadelphia seems like the least likely. With [Sam] Bradford at the helm, the Eagles might be able to win eight games — so is keeping Bradford in a starting role worthwhile?

There are 10 Eagles that made the All-NFC East team, according to Jared Dubin of CBSSports.com.

Safeties: Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles; Rodney McLeod, Eagles

Byron Jones pushed for a spot here after a rookie season that saw him contribute all over the field, but the Eagles’ back-end duo seems like it has a higher ceiling given that they will be playing with a strong group in front of them.

Jenkins’ star has only risen since moving from New Orleans to Philadelphia, and he made his first Pro Bowl last season. He can move all over the field, playing in the box or up high, and even sliding over to the slot to cover receivers there, as he did with great success for much of last season. He also contributed in a big way in the running game.

McLeod is coming over to Philly after spending the first four years of his career with the Rams. Here’s how one NFC West scout described him at the time he signed his new contract.

He was described by the same scout as “tough as s— ,” which is an awesome thing to be when your job is to hit people. He’ll probably play the deep safety role for Philly, patrolling the back end while Jenkins roams all over. That’s a great fit.

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report thinks that Wentz will take over the starting job midway through the season.

Yes, Pederson saw firsthand two different approaches that might influence his current decision. He served as a bridge quarterback during the 1999 season after the Eagles invested the second overall pick in Donovan McNabb. The organization remained patient. The Eagles didn’t start the rookie quarterback until Week 10, and McNabb enjoyed long-term success.

A year later, the quarterback-turned-coach found himself in Cleveland as Tim Couch‘s backup. Couch didn’t have the luxury of sitting on the bench to start his career, which led to his shaken confidence and pounded body.

However, Philadelphia fans will be calling for the rookie while incumbent starter Sam Bradford will almost certainly feel the pressure of being replaced every time he makes a mistake.

PREDICTION: Bradford will get eight games to prove himself before Pederson names Wentz his starter. 

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports has heard plenty of good news regarding Wentz and his development.

The stories out today were that he’s going to be the number three quarterback, he might not dress. The answer is you’re right, but that doesn’t mean he’s not progressing. I’m told that this guy has been lights out. He comes in, he has the playbook down already, he’s right up there with Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford.

And the thought in Philadelphia is ‘We have a luxury not to just push him out there and start him right away. We have two quarterbacks who are veterans.’ And the thought is, ‘Look Doug Pederson, when he was a quarterback in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb waited for eight weeks before he was the starter.’ So Wentz is well on his way and he’s in good shape. He’s gonna have no rush to get him in there.

And here’s the other key thing: Sam Bradford isn’t exactly the Cal Ripken of football. This is a guy who might go down and we might see Wentz sooner rather than later. They think he’s ready for that.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com originally predicted Carson Wentz would only see ‘garbage time’ in 2016. Now, he’s changed his bold prediction toward another player on offense.

How about Ryan Mathews: 1,000 yards guy. I know he’s been injured a lot. I know they said they’re gonna go to a committee. But this is a guy that had 1,200 yards for the Chargers, and at the end of the day, it’s great to go to a committee. But when you’re easily the best guy in that committee, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna give him the rock, right?

Not to mention, being in a committee is not always a bad thing. It means that somebody like this who’s been injury prone has a better shot at staying healthy.

Jason Peters was once one of the top tackles in the league, but is now the Eagles’ most overrated player, opines Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com.

Jason Peters T / Philadelphia Eagles

He was once considered one of the best in the league, but age is starting to impact his play. He was hampered some by injuries last season and he did miss two games. But at 34, he isn’t the player he used to be, even if some still think he is that. Maybe a change in coaching staffs will help.

Malcolm Jenkins, Jordan MatthewsJason Kelce, and Najee Goode met with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. to find ways to improve relations between police and the community, from Jenice Armstrong of the Daily News.

Jenkins, an Eagles safety, was inspired, in part, by the stand that the NBA stars took at the ESPYs, but already had been planning to do something around the topic of violence.

“The country has been outraged with some of the stuff that’s going on when you talk about shootings of what seem to be innocent men across the country as well as shootings against police officers,” Jenkins said as the players stood up to leave.

“There’s an obvious need for reconciliation when you talk about those two communities. As someone who’s in the community, as somebody who has a platform, I wanted to see if there’s a way that we can break that ice and just start the conversation . . . and use the resources of the guys that’s in this room to help facilitate that.”

Last week, he reached out to Maxwell Brown, the former community partnership liaison in the city’s office of community services, who helped arrange the sitdown with Ross to at least begin a conversation.