Weekend Reading: Eric Rowe On the Trade Block
Here are this weekend’s top Eagles stories from around the web:
The Eagles have actively been shopping Eric Rowe for weeks, ESPN confirmed.
The 23-year-old was inconsistent overall, but showed enough promise to be considered a potential starting option heading into this season. Rowe (6-1, 205) has struggled to adapt to new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s scheme, however. Doug Pederson acknowledged that Rowe experienced “hiccups” early in the offseason and was “pulled back a little bit” as a result. He ended up sliding down the depth chart and has yet to climb back up.
Rowe played safety and corner at Utah. Caplan notes that the Eagles don’t see him as a safety, “but whether other teams do remains to be seen.”
NJ Advance Media was the first to report that the Eagles have been shopping Rowe.
Former Eagle Emmanuel Acho describes his cut day experience while with the Eagles for The Undefeated.
We had a light practice that Monday coming together as a team for some cardio, a light walk-through and meetings. I left the facility feeling great — this was going to be my first real (regular-season) NFL game, my big-screen debut! So I did what anyone would do before they hit the big screen: I went to get a haircut.
I was sitting in the barber’s chair holding my phone as I scrolled through Twitter when my phone lit up — 215 was all I saw. An unsaved number with a Philadelphia area code. I wasn’t too worried. After all, I just left practice and if I was going to get cut, surely the reaper would’ve paid me a visit while I was at his home base. I was also apartment hunting at the time because I needed a permanent residence in Philadelphia, so it was not foreign for me to receive a call from an arbitrary 215 area code at the time. I was sure it was just a real estate agent.
I innocently picked up the phone saying, “Emmanuel Acho speaking.” The rest of the conversation was mostly a blur, but I’ll never forget being told, “Hey, man, sorry we’re going to have to let you go. We found a guy a little bit quicker, not that you’re not quick! And just a little bit faster, not that you’re not fast!” While listening, I was both confused and devastated. Things only got worse as the conversation ended with, “Bring in your playbook as soon as possible. We’ll have someone waiting for you.”
Former NFL defensive end Stephen White, writing for SB Nation, says he believes Marcus Smith will have a breakout 2016 season.
I don’t think Smith will necessarily beat out Barwin or Graham (although it is a possibility with a new defensive staff), but he won’t have to be a starter to have a breakout season.
The little bit I did see from him at the end of last season was enough to show me that the kid still has some decent pass rush ability from the edge, which is what he was supposed to be coming out of college in the first place. I thought he was okay against the run as well. Now that he will be able to actually showcase his talents on a regular basis, there is no telling what he will be able to do with this opportunity.
I expect Marcus Smith to top six sacks and be a key contributor to the pass rush this season. That would be a huge step forward for him, considering how his first two seasons went. Depending on just how well he plays, he could end up making Barwin and/or Graham expendable by the middle of the season.
Frank Reich and Schwartz could be head coaches sometime soon, opines Conor Orr of NFL.com.
Frank Reich, offensive coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles: Reich interviewed for the Buffalo Bills’ head coaching job early in 2015 after a strong first season as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 2014. Unfortunately, Reich ran into a buzzsaw — along with other members of San Diego’s coaching staff — in a haphazard assistant shakeup following the 2015 season. Reich is well-liked around the league, though, and has the temperament to lead a football team. Should Philadelphia win the NFC East in 2016, stoking the fire for more coaches associated with the Andy Reid school, Reich’s name will come up once again.
Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles: Schwartz is already standing out in Philadelphia with his no-nonsense approach to the defense. In many ways, he has an easier path than Reich because of his previous head coaching experience (five seasons in Detroit) and the wealth of talent on Philadelphia’s defense.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is a lock to make the All-Pro team, writes Cameron DaSilva of FoxSports.com.
The Eagles signed Fletcher Cox to a massive $102.6 million contract this offseason, and he’ll show why this year. In Jim Schwartz’s Wide 9 scheme, Cox will become a true 4-3 defensive tackle and thrive at that spot. He’s not Aaron Donald, but he’ll have a huge impact for the Eagles. Carolina’s Kawann Short is also a contender to be a first-team All-Pro.
Bradford played well enough late last season to generate some optimism, but it’s tough to bank on an oft-injured QB who has never played consistently well over the course of a season. The Eagles would not have signed Chase Daniel and drafted Carson Wentz if they disagreed.
Bradford is also a player entering a make-or-break season, from Field Yates of ESPN In$ider.
It was an odd offseason for Bradford: He signed a two-year deal with the Eagles, who then promptly went on to pay a king’s ransom to land Carson Wentz as their quarterback of the future. Given the price the Eagles paid to draft Wentz, they want him to start as soon as possible, and a likely target date is to open the 2017 season.
So where does that leave Bradford? If he plays well, he could generate trade interest from other teams and set himself up for yet another payday. And if a team wants to trade for Bradford, it would likely want to extend his contract too.
If he struggles, the calls for Wentz to take over the job will come quickly. And with just $4 million of Bradford’s 2017 salary guaranteed prior to the start of next league year, he could be done with the Eagles quickly. Finding another starting gig following an underwhelming 2016 would be a tough task. This is likely his last shot to show he can be a consistent starter in the league.
Sticking to the quarterbacks, Wentz’s injury was one of the biggest of the preseason, from Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.
Injury: Two fractured ribs
Date: Aug. 11
Impact: Wentz has returned to practice, but he still lost out on valuable developmental time. He also reduced his chances for getting on the field as a rookie. The Eagles’ plan was to start Sam Bradford early, with Chase Daniel backing up, but the presence of a healthy Wentz would have made things more interesting. A rookie quarterback who misses most of training camp and the majority of the preseason faces a stiff learning curve.
In his first year as head coach, Doug Pederson‘s seat isn’t hot yet, but as our old pal Tim McManus over at ESPN writes, it could be different.
Doug Pederson: 2 (out of 5)
Questions persist as to whether Pederson is ready to effectively lead an NFL team. Barring a total disaster, though, you would think owner Jeffrey Lurie would give Pederson more than a season to prove his worth. Still without a Super Bowl trophy on the shelf, Lurie might not be as patient as he was when he bought the team back in 1994. But a reactionary move like firing a coach after one year would be out of character.