Weekend Reading: Season Predictions, Best Battles
With the first week of training camp wrapping up this weekend, here’s this weekend’s roundup of the most interesting stories about the Eagles:
Our old bud Sheil Kapadia joined Bill Barnwell on his podcast to give their predictions about the Eagles this season.
Kapadia: I’ve got them at 6-10. I see very little upside, and I was in Vegas for a bachelor party, and I think they had the over/under at seven. And I was telling many of my friends who were Eagles fans that I left the under. They did not like that, but I was just offering my opinion. I just think the offense is really gonna struggle. They’re in a tough place culture wise, and I think everything you do this year has to focus on what’s best for Carson Wentz. How can we develop this guy? Because I really think you want to be in a position next year where he’s your starter, and you actually have some blueprint of how you’re gonna turn this franchise around.
Barnwell: I think they’re gonna do a little better. I think that the ceiling is definitely not high, and I definitely see that. And I think there’s enough talent on offense I can see it being decent. Even if everyone doesn’t break together, I mean I can see a few of those guys taking a step forward. I have little faith in Doug Pederson. I think he is a very useful offensive coordinator in terms of kind of building an offense to his team’s strengths, I don’t know what those strengths are yet, but hopefully we’ll find out as the season goes on. I see them at 8-8. I see them being competitive, but I don’t see them sort of taking a leap into the playoffs.
The signings of Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, along with drafting Carson Wentz, were one of the 20 biggest offseason moves, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign all the quarterbacks. They brought back Sam Bradford, signed backup Chase Daniel and traded their way up from No. 13 to No. 2 in the draft to take Carson Wentz. The result is a 2016 muddle, and a ton of outside pressure to make a move if Bradford struggles and/or gets hurt. There’s always chaos in Philly, and the Eagles have invited plenty more with their QB-heavy offseason plan.
Wentz must do better than the team’s previous two quarterbacks, opines Mike Sielski of the Inquirer.
But what’s interesting, and a bit puzzling, too, about the Eagles’ offseason maneuvering to draft Carson Wentz is that they did the opposite of what Roseman apparently wanted to do with Foles and [Doug] Pederson helped [Andy] Reid do with [Alex] Smith. The Eagles could have used the three net draft picks that they gave to Cleveland in the Wentz trade to select players who might have made them a stronger team overall — to create conditions that might have allowed Bradford, another middling NFL quarterback, to flourish. Instead, they have gambled that Wentz will be another [Tom] Brady, another [Aaron] Rodgers, truly great.
“Well, you can only deal with the fact patterns you have when you’re making a decision, and sometimes you’re dealing with a certain situation, and things change,” [Howie] Roseman said. “Circumstances change. You have to make decisions understanding that can happen and never look back.”
All of what Roseman said there was gobbledygook, and none of it changes what the Eagles face. They need Carson Wentz to be much, much better than Nick Foles or Sam Bradford, whatever the circumstances, without disagreement.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com is interested in two Eagles training camp battles, one on each side of the ball.
10) Eagles quarterback: Carson Wentz vs. Week 12 Sam Bradford
It would be a shock if Bradford didn’t open the season as Philadelphia’s starter, with Chase Daniel likely to be his backup. Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick, is engaged in a more metaphysical battle. It’s his job this month to justify Philadelphia’s big trade for him and make coach Doug Pederson believe that Wentz could take over the team down the stretch if Bradford’s season eventually goes sideways.
We’ll also keep an eye on the Eagles’ receiving corps, where Chip Kelly’s decimation of the position hurts. Rueben Randle smells like an early favorite to start opposite Nelson Agholor on the outside, with Jordan Matthews mostly manning the slot.
11) Eagles starting cornerbacks
The arrival of coordinator Jim Schwartz shook up the Eagles’ defense, especially in the secondary. Leodis McKelvin suddenly looks like the No. 1 cornerback. Last year’s second-round pick, Eric Rowe, is a forgotten man, while Nolan Carroll, rookie Jalen Mills and free-agent import Ron Brooks are all in the mix. It’s a good thing Philly’s safety tandem (Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod) looks so excellent.
Could Bradford stay in Philadelphia in 2017 if he plays well? Howie Roseman says that could happen, from Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.
Bradford’s cap number is $22,500,000 in 2017, $13,000,000 of which the Eagles will save if he is released, $17,000,000 if he is traded. On the financial end alone, it is extremely unlikely Bradford will be on the team in 2017.
Yet, when asked if the Eagles had to fit Bradford on the cap for 2017, could the Eagles possibly do it, Roseman emphatically said they could.
“No question,” said Roseman. “No question. We’re not in the business of losing good players. That’s our job to figure out scenarios and figure out ways to do that, and we’ve gone through all those scenarios. It’s tighter than it’s been since I’ve been here, but we also felt like it was an opportunity now with where our players were that the longer we waited, the more players we’d probably have to lose. Time is never helpful in these things. We went into it knowing that, but, for sure.”
Chip Kelly’s questionable moves are going to start making an impact on the team, writes Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com.
The under-the-radar storyline for the Eagles is the lack of proven offensive playmakers after Chip Kelly’s unloading of DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. Injury-prone Ryan Mathews is likely the starting running back. None of the wide receivers has ever had a 1,000-yard season. They have good tight ends, but Zach Ertz hasn’t quite had his breakout season and Brent Celek is 31. New coach Doug Pederson has his work cut out for him.
Cameron DaSilva of FoxSports.com thinks the Eagles have a rushing attack that’s one of the worst in the league.
27. Philadelphia Eagles
A year ago, it looked as though the Eagles would have the best rushing offense in the league, having added [DeMarco] Murray and Ryan Mathews. They’re now left with just Mathews, who’s dealt with injury problems throughout his career. He did, however, play well in minimal time last season, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. There is reason to believe he can actually put up better numbers than Murray did in 2015, and the Eagles’ offensive line is decent when it wasn’t running exclusively out of the shotgun under Chip Kelly. Still, talent is certainly lacking at running back, particularly in short-yardage situations.
Brian Dawkins has been added to the Eagles’ scouting department as the team’s inaugural recipient of the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, a program introducing former players to scouting.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced that Brian Dawkins, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the club’s Hall of Fame, has been added to the team’s scouting department. Dawkins is the franchise’s inaugural recipient of the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, a new program launched by the NFL aimed at introducing former players to the world of player personnel and the duties of an NFL scout.
In this role, Dawkins will study and work closely with all phases of the scouting and football operations departments.
A safety who captivated the city of Philadelphia with his relentless motor and passion for the sport, Dawkins guided the team’s defense for 13 seasons, rounding out his Eagles career in 2008 as the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (183) and interceptions (34).
A second-round pick out of Clemson in 1996, Dawkins was recognized as a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s, was voted the starting safety on the Eagles’ 75th Anniversary Team by the fans and was a five-time All-Pro nomination.