What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Former Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis explains what went wrong last season.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Several notable Eagles stories to start off the week:

The MMQB’s Peter King on Doug Pederson’s police stop and adjusting to being a head coach.

Rookie Eagles coach Doug Pederson was driving home from the Philadelphia airport one night this off-season and got pulled over by a cop. Seems Pederson had been driving without his lights on, and the cop took his license and registration and went back to his car to write him up. The cop came back a couple of minutes later. He handed Pederson the license and registration back, with nothing else.

“Season-ticket holder 26 years,” the flat-line cop said. “Expecting big things.”

… Two interesting examples of his reaction to problems. When Sam Bradford, ticked off that the team drafted the quarterback who would make him obsolete, Carson Wentz, went AWOL for a couple of weeks, Pederson knew he wasn’t going to stand for this in his starting quarterback. He also knew it was April, and there was no sense in picking a fight then. Bradford came back, of course, but everyone from Wilkes-Barre to Wilmington knows Bradford is just a seat-holder for Wentz.

And on the subject of whether Pederson can be tough enough: “You didn’t see me yesterday,” he said Sunday morning. “We have a 10-minute specialist period at the start of practice, and players catch punts and kickoffs out of the JUGGS machine. So the whistle blew for practice and two guys were still getting taped up and ready. Well, I lost my mind. I was like, ‘WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS ON SUNDAY, ARE YOU GONNA BE TAPING YOUR HANDS WHEN THEY’RE GETTING READY TO KICK THE BALL OFF IN THE GAME?’”

King also questioned whether Rueben Randle will make the team.

Philadelphia: Rueben Randle, wide receiver. He caught 188 balls in four years with the Giants, but he never was the deep threat or consistent wideout his second-round status merited. Though he made a brilliant one-handed catch in practice Saturday, he’s the fourth receiver at best here, and he may not make the 53-man roster.

Former Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis explains what went wrong last season, reports Paul Domowitch of the Daily News.

“Then DeMeco [Ryans] gets nicked up and goes down and the young kid (Jordan Hicks) comes in and does a great job. He was a great quarterback. But then he gets hurt, and now, Mychal [Kendricks] or Kiko [Alonso], one of those two have to be the quarterback. And neither one of them could do that. That’s not what they do best.

“When they had to be the quarterback, things changed, and it got a little difficult (for them) to do their own job. You have to line everybody else up and then line yourself up and they couldn’t do it.”

Alonso was traded to the Dolphins in March along with another major 2015 disappointment, cornerback Byron Maxwell. Kendricks, who signed a four-year, $29 million extension last summer, still is with the Eagles. But Davis thinks he’ll play much better for his successor, Jim Schwartz, than he did for him last year.

“I think Mychal will flourish for Jim [Schwartz],” he said. “Because he’ll be able to just play, like he was able to do for us in 2014. He’s highly athletic. He’s a great pass rusher. If he can pick up his coverage game, he’ll be back to where he was.”

Byron Maxwell was the fifth-worst cornerback in the NFL last year in adjusted yards per target, according to Carl Yedor of Football Outsiders.

Maxwell in particular did not transition well from his supporting role in Seattle in 2014 to covering receivers like Julio Jones with the Eagles in 2015. After signing Maxwell to a splashy free agent contract under the leadership of Chip Kelly, the Eagles traded Maxwell to the Dolphins in a package for the eighth pick in the 2015 draft. Maxwell will not likely produce at a level commensurate with his salary, but the Dolphins will certainly hope to put Maxwell in a situation to succeed this season. Miami didn’t receive Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor in the deal as well, but Maxwell’s true talent level probably lies somewhere between the two extremes of 2014 and 2015.

Zach Ertz isn’t one of the 10 best tight ends in fantasy this season, opines the MMQB’s Gary Gramling.

11. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia
He’s a much better option than any of Philly’s receivers. The problem is not only that the Eagles won’t score many points, but Ertz has just nine touchdowns over three seasons so far.

Our old friend, Adam Hermann, details what the fan experience was like at the Eagles’ open practice yesterday, for the Daily News.

Mike, LeAnn, and Kennedy Hunke woke up at five o’clock Sunday morning, jumped in their car in Howard County, Md., and drove two hours to Philadelphia to watch Wentz practice.

Mike and LeAnn both grew up in Bismarck, N.D., the same town Wentz was born in 23 years ago. They both attended North Dakota State University, where Wentz played football. And now their daughter, Kennedy, is a sophomore at the same school. Last year, she occasionally sat at the same dining hall table as Wentz.

In North Dakota, Mike and LeAnn explained, most people are Vikings fans when they root for an NFL team.

But Wentz is so likable, they said they might end up rooting for the Eagles this season. They’ll certainly be pulling for the man himself.

“He’s just a good old North Dakota boy,” LeAnn said. “He seems to take everything in stride.”

The most important offseason move the Eagles made was drafting Carson Wentz, says ESPN’s Phil Sheridan.

Coaching changes are pretty hard to top when it comes to offseason moves that have an impact, but the Eagles managed to do it. Their biggest move was the investment in players and draft picks they made to trade up and select Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick. If Doug Pederson wasn’t the right hire, the Eagles can find another coach. If Wentz isn’t the player the Eagles need him to be, they will be stuck in QB limbo for the next few years.