State of the Team: Philadelphia Eagles
by Andy Benoit
The 2013 "State of the Team" articles will run daily through the NFL draft. These offer a snapshot look at a team’s roster, with players classified by color based on how they fit their role. My analysis is based on film study, not statistics, although we will try to note when my judgment differs significantly from FO's advanced stats, and explain a little bit why. Starters are in bold, and you will notice that many units are listed with 12 starters rather than just 11. This denotes the extra playing time that nickelbacks and third receivers usually get in today's NFL.
- Jury’s still out
- Just a guy
- Upgrade needed
- No longer on the team
Some players colored pink as "just a guy" are younger low-round picks who just haven't seen much playing time, but keep in mind that 99 percent of the time, there’s a negative reason why such a player has rarely seen the field.
Players colored red as "upgrade needed" are not necessarily bad players. Sometimes, this simply means the player is a decent backup who should not be starting.
Since I generally don't do analysis on special teams, those categorizations are based strictly on FO stats, with any comments written by Aaron Schatz. We're only listing kickers and punters, as most teams go into training camp without specific players set as return specialists.
Click here for an archive of all State of the Team articles.
It’s a new day in Philadelphia. Football America –- college and pro alike –- is eager to see how well Chip Kelly’s rapid-paced offense can work in the NFL. Kelly’s spread, space-oriented zone concepts are an extreme version of what a lot of the league is trending towards right now. We know those extremes work well against college defensive players and schemes. What will it take for them to successfully translate to the pros?
QB: Michael Vick, Dennis Dixon, Nick Foles; Lost: Trent Edwards
RB: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Stanley Havili (FB); Lost: Dion Lewis
In Kelly’s system, the quarterback must be mobile. That’s non-negotiable, and it’s the reason why Foles will not win the starting job here. The question is whether Vick can handle the reins. He’s not as explosive as he once was, but he obviously remains one of the most mobile signal-callers in the game. Simply being able to run around is not enough, though. Kelly’s quarterback must make multiple reads on the move and disciplined decisions. Sound mechanics are usually needed to facilitate this. There’s no sense debating whether Vick can perform this role. His past three years as the starter in Philly, as well as his body of work before that, provide a clear answer: no –- not overall, anyway. Sometimes, Vick can thrive in Kelly’s system. More often than not, he’ll be erratic or injured.
A player who will thrive in this system is McCoy. His stop/start quickness and agile change-of-direction make him an ideal fit. Behind McCoy, Brown is a very good downhill runner who surprises by having enough speed to turn the corner. He needs to look to turn the corner less often, though. He abandoned too many inside play designs last season and also fumbled way too much.
WR: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Arrelious Benn, Greg Salas
TE: Brent Celek, James Casey, Clay Harbor
Jackson and Maclin are both shifty, space-oriented receivers, but they’re not perfect fits for the scheme. as both are much better vertically than horizontally. Neither is a particularly enthusiastic blocker, which will hurt the run game. This isn’t to say they are an inadequate duo –- we’re talking about two talented players, after all. But Kelly will likely be frustrated with them at times. It was a little curious for the Eagles to acquire Benn considering they already had a superior possession target in Avant. The veteran slot man will play a prominent role in this system. So will Celek and Casey, as short area receivers, anyway. (Neither will be counted on to block much.) Celek is more accomplished, but Casey may prove to be the better player in this system, as he’s a little more flexible in his movement running underneath routes.
LT: Jason Peters LG: Evan Mathis C: Jason Kelce RG: Dennis Kelly RT: Todd Herremans
Backups: Danny Watkins, Dallas Reynolds; Lost: King Dunlap, Demetress Bell
Peters and Kelce are potential Pro Bowlers coming off very serious injuries. There’s a rumor that Mathis is an upper-tier guard. In reality, he’s average, thanks mainly to having only average power. The Mathis rumor was probably started by the same impressionable people who believe that, just because Danny Watkins was a "blue-collar firefighter" and way too old to warrant a first-round pick, he was guaranteed to step in and immediately succeed at right guard. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case. Kelly has an intriguing foundation of raw talent in regards to playing the right side; it’s a matter of whether that talent can be cultivated. Herremans is a classic "solid-but-not-spectacular" guy.
Last season’s disaster is in the past. The cornerbacking trio that once defined this "Dream Team" has completely dissipated, as Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha all wound up leaving on disappointing notes. New coordinator Billy Davis is installing a fresh 3-4 scheme, which makes sense considering Philly’s abundance of athletic edge rushers. In all likelihood, Davis’ 3-4 will feature a lot of 4-3 tactics, as most 3-4’s these days like to use one-gap concepts. Of course, it won’t matter what Davis does if the Eagles’ secondary isn’t good enough to stay above water.
DE: Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Clifton Geathers Lost: Darryl Tapp, Cullen Jenkins
DT: Isaac Sopoaga, Antonio Dixon; Lost: Derek Landri, Mike Patterson
Cox and Thornton are young, but there’s a lot to like about them. Cox has the sleek and powerful build to play a J.J. Watt-type role (though obviously he likely will not be as dominant as Watt). Thornton brings good strength and burst to the table. Sopoaga is a natural clogger who can move. The only concern up front –- and it’s a valid one –- is depth.
OLB: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Emmanuel Acho
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ILB: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jason Phillips, Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney; Lost: Akeem Jordan
Cole has never played out of a two-point stance, but the unknown there doesn’t outweigh his well-known body of work. He’s been as impressive an all-around force as any edge player in the game over the past five years. Barwin proved his mettle in this scheme as a member of the Texans. If for some reason he doesn’t pan out, Graham has flashed star-level talent, while Curry has second-round talent that he’s eager to show off. Inside, there has to be some concern about Ryans. If he were great in a 3-4, Houston would have never traded him to Philadelphia in the first place. Kendricks is an impressive space-oriented player, but can he take on blocks and be physical between the hash marks? More importantly, will he be a sound cover artist inside? As a rookie he was impressive on the outside in this department early on, but stumbled a bit down the stretch.
CB: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh; Lost: Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
S: Kenny Phillips, Patrick Chung, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson, Nate Allen
Well, at least members of this group weren’t acquired for tens of millions or high draft picks. Williams’ only chance at prospering as the leading corner is if he’s behind a potent pass rush. The later in the down it gets, the more likely he is to give up separation, particularly on comebackers outside. (This is true with all corners, of course, but especially true with him.) Fletcher was iffy as a No. 3 in St. Louis, so why would anyone expect him to be adequate as a No. 2 here? Boykin has the potential to be a fine slot defender. At safety, Phillips and Chung are both hard hitters, but prone to getting hurt while they throw their bodies around. If one goes down, Anderson should get the nod. He was actually much better than Coleman and Allen last season.
K: Alex Henery; P: Donnie Jones; Lost: Mat McBriar
Last year when David Akers set the all-time record for hitting field goals, Eagles fans were pretty angry that the team had let Akers go and drafted Henery to replace him. How are they feeling now?
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51 comments, Last at 25 Apr 2013, 8:38am
#1 by Nathan // Apr 20, 2013 - 9:10pm
Did I miss something? When did Fletcher Cox become "good"?
#14 by Karl Cuba // Apr 21, 2013 - 10:26am
It makes more sense than Cedric Thornton rating as good, he was only elevated from the practice squad for five weeks and has a solitary sack to his name.
#18 by Tim Wilson // Apr 21, 2013 - 2:28pm
Similarly, I don't understand the Cole rating or commentary. Are we ignoring his 2012? Seems odd to score him based on his average level over the last 5 years and not weight the recent past more heavily.
#2 by theslothook // Apr 20, 2013 - 9:29pm
Curious...pff rated evan mathis as their highest ranked guard in 2012 and very high in 2011. I know their system is flawed to a degree...but they are grading every player by the tape.
#8 by nath // Apr 21, 2013 - 2:56am
Yeah... that "rumor" definitely started with Pro Football Focus.
#15 by Karl Cuba // Apr 21, 2013 - 10:37am
I've never really had much time for PFF's grades (though some of their stats are quite handy, even if they aren't measuring what they think they are i.e. yards per route run), they don't really know what they're doing and as Scott Pioli pointed out during that panel discussion at the Sloan Analytics conference, it really isn't possible to give useful grades without knowing the assignments. However, I made a point of watching Mathis closely after they rated him so highly and they had a point, he is remarkably consistent. He might not maul people but he gets the job done play after play. He doesn't drive tackles five yards down the field but his man will always be blocked and he never misses his assignment. Not flashy but very good.
But they are the same people that anointed Chilo Rachal as the best young guard in the NFL.
#22 by Austintacious (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 9:49pm
I agree that PFF's ratings will always have an asterisk by them because they can only judge the result (and not the intention), but I don't see that as a reason to dismiss them all together. The stats the FO and every other site uses do not measure intention either, but they are still clearly useful. Other than when a team is judging its own player, how often does a scout/coach/general manager have insider knowledge of a player's assignment? Not often (if ever). But it can usually be inferred from watching the result.
#28 by Karl Cuba // Apr 22, 2013 - 10:51am
However, you would at least expect a coach. Scout or general manager to know what he was doing. PFF grades are compiled by amateurs. You or I could be one, they were advertising for 'scouts' a couple of weeks ago. Under those conditions it is close to absurd that they hand out quantitative grades, so the asterisk should really be quite large. Their analysis is qualitative at best but is so often referenced on comment boards and sometimes by professional journalists, to their shame, without any caveats at all.
#31 by theslothook // Apr 22, 2013 - 3:00pm
I think you are being a bit harsh. THey've been doing this now for 5 years and they do cross check this with scouts to ensure there is a measure of quality control. Look, I'm not out to be their biggest cheerleaders, but what they've done feels appropriate. And they are used by nfl teams and nfl agents so if they were so ridiculous - then why would anyone care what they have to say.
Karl - I think you're being dismissive and far too harsh.
#33 by Karl Cuba // Apr 22, 2013 - 4:10pm
I said above that I do think some of what they do is useful but I really don't like the way they hand out numerical grades. If they were being qualitative, handing out grades like blue-chip, red-chip I would have less of a problem but when some journalist (like Peter King) begins to attack or defend someone because PFF gave them a 24.5 or a -13 then I think they're overreaching their level of expertise.
#34 by Austintacious (not verified) // Apr 22, 2013 - 6:59pm
I still don't understand why you are so dismissive of their ratings. They're paid for their work so by definition they are not amateurs. You attack them because they "don't know what they're doing" yet give no specifics. Coaching and judging (which is what I really think they do) are two different skill sets. Sites like this have proven time and again that you don't have to be an industry insider to understand the game.
#35 by Karl Cuba // Apr 22, 2013 - 9:45pm
I'm not trying to be dismissive but I think the grading portion of their work is weak. Just because they generate sufficient revenue from adverts and subscriptions to pay people to review games does not necessarily mean that those people possess the skills to accurately dispense grades.
I think a more useful definition would be whether or not their graders have any professional scouting, coaching or front office experience. As far as I know, they don't have anyone like that.
FO and some of the other stats sites are different because they're not using subjective assessments, their methods are objective. 'Judging' might be a different skill to coaching (though I'm not sure what you mean) but it should be informed by knowledge and relevant experience or it's pretty meaningless.
I do admire their ability to turn around their stats relatively quickly. There I've said something nice.
#36 by Dan // Apr 22, 2013 - 10:50pm
PFF also has more "objective stats" - for pass blocking, they count sacks, hits, and hurries and calculate a version of pressure rate (which they call Pass Blocking Efficiency). Mathis was 6th out of 50 guards this year in Pass Blocking Efficiency, and 11th out of 55 last year. The only players who ranked ahead of him both years were Yanda & Sitton.
#37 by Anonymousse (not verified) // Apr 23, 2013 - 1:20pm
" they count sacks, hits, and hurries and calculate a version of pressure rate'
But this falls under the same issue; they don't have people who know enough to tell whether a sack was the LG getting beat, the Center calling out the wrong protection and the LG trying to catch an uncovered guy, or just a nice call.
#38 by Karl Cuba // Apr 23, 2013 - 2:14pm
Or the qb failing to identify a hot read responsibility, or the receiver not breaking off his route, or the back sliding the wrong way and on and on...
Mental errors like this are about as bad a mistake as can be made, you get beaten cleanly rather than overpowered more slowly, then the PFF grades and stats start to look rather dodgy. It's the same problem with coverage responsibilities, when a receiver hands off coverage to a safety that isn't there, who is at fault? Did the linebacker let the safety down by failing to get enough depth in the drop. A can of worms they decided didn't need opening.
#39 by theslothook // Apr 23, 2013 - 3:43pm
You realize some of the same problems exist when opposing coaches watch the game film? They themselves are not privy to the exact blocking assignments/ qb first reads etc. They aren't privy to the exact progressions nor can they be sure who made the spacing mistake. This is also true when team's pour over tapes of the draft.
#41 by Dictionary Fan (not verified) // Apr 23, 2013 - 4:04pm
Why would a team want to pour tapes over anything?
That last sentence is one of the worst attempts at writing English I've ever seen.
#44 by theslothook // Apr 23, 2013 - 6:10pm
The worst attempts at writing English that you've ever seen? Really? As far as I can tell, I inadvertently added an apostrophe after team, which should have been teams not team's. And I had a malapropism for pour which should have been pore. Easy there with the hyperbole.
#42 by Karl Cuba // Apr 23, 2013 - 4:57pm
In 'The Games that Changed the Game' Jaworski and Cosell point out the futility of attempting to grade in this manner without knowing the assignment. I've also read of an NFL team that was looking to bolster their offensive line in free agency so their coaches and front office sat down to try to compile a database of every offensive lineman in the league. They rapidly abandoned the attempt because they couldn't accurately determine what the assignments were. These were trained, professional, NFL personnel.
NFL coaches will work out as much as they can from opponent's previous games but I doubt that even they work out everything, in part because teams change things around and disguise what they are doing.
And college coaches routinely answer queries about their players for NFL teams because getting their players drafted helps them to recruit.
Last I'm saying, PFF's grades just aren't for me.
#40 by theslothook // Apr 23, 2013 - 3:46pm
Heres the real problem i have Karl. You've pointed out their flaws. Fine. But they have their positives but you somehow believe their flaws well outweigh the positives. In essence, their grades are more misleading than revealing, almost like you believe we shouldn't trust their numbers or their grades because your just as likely to find a player graded accurately as you are to find a player whos graded poorly by them but in actuality is a great player. I just don't buy that. I think they get it right mostly. If you think about it, Cossell isn't a pro scout but I know nfl people have talked to him. He even said, football isn't complicated - but it is very detailed. And btw, they have talked to nfl people too. They get invited into press boxes and team training camps. They are recognized by the nfl and quoted by agents and personnel people for a reason.
#43 by Karl Cuba // Apr 23, 2013 - 5:01pm
You think it's worthwhile, I don't and you are not going to convince me. Hand them your cash if you like.
Have you read this:
"If you’re not 95 percent sure what’s gone on then don’t grade the player for that play. The grades must stand up to scrutiny and criticism, and it’s far better to say you’re not sure than be wrong." Seriously? So on plays where something has gone wrong because you can't work out who should have picked up the pass rusher no grade is awarded? That's precisely where a grade is important. At this point they were happily handing out grades to safeties despite being unable to see what they were doing, which I find mind boggling.
"Just like with the more mainstream statistics, there are occasions when the choice is difficult. But the difference on our site is this: If a guy is going to be upgraded or downgraded on a judgment call, we let it ride. We simply make the comment and then put in a 0." Again, gibberish.
"Our player participation data has been confirmed as being 99 percent accurate, and we firmly believe that we are more than 90 percent accurate in our grading of individual plays." I think their player participation has probably got a lot better since the NFL released access to the all-22 but they used to make the same claim back when an NFL journalist told me that an agent had revealed that their player participation data was wrong 25% of the time, with the direct implication that they were grading the wrong players. 90% accurate grades are not really helpful, even if they are close to their own estimate for their figure. I don't need their help to work out that JJ Watt is a great player or that Adam Snyder has problems, most players lie in the middle range of ability, covered by their 10% error boundary (and I doubt that estimate).
"We’ve been commended by NFL players for the accuracy of our grading and told we are “light years” ahead of anything available elsewhere in media circles." I've also seen players saying that their belief in their ability to make judgements is absurd.
This makes an amusing read too:
And you too could have added to the highly accurate grading system:
Where you can receive, "payment based on work done in-season depending on accuracy." Accuracy compared to what? The grades assembled by Neil Horsnby, a bloke from the north of England with no american football experience whatsoever?
Cosell isn't a pro scout but he has thirty years of experience watching coaching film, questioning coaches the whole time. You can't compare his know how with that cobbled together by PFF. Aaron Schatz gets invited into press boxes and while I love his work here I wouldn't trust him to grade players in the manner PFF do.
I said earlier on that some of their work has some merit but it's much, much more qualitative than they present it to be. And I have seen them declare awful players as great (Rachal) and also spot good players who were not widely appreciated. Their work should be looked at with a pinch of salt.
#45 by theslothook // Apr 23, 2013 - 6:12pm
Sigh...you're going to make me dig up all of their testimonials now to argue back...we'll just agree to disagree. I use them as a gauge, I never think they are the final word either. Just as FO's words aren't the final factor for who the best team is. One might conclude dvoa is completely useless since it has now failed to accurately predict the post season time and time and time again. Still, both are valuable in the right context, even if I concede that FO is better at what it attempts to do than Pff.
#3 by Kaelik (not verified) // Apr 20, 2013 - 10:48pm
Are Maclin and Jackson really green?
I mean, I know starting receivers have in general gotten pretty good colors on your system, but both Green?
Have they really proved themselves in some way that I'm missing. Certainly their quarterback situation was worse than most other receivers last year, but they scored worse than Devone Bess (black), Kevin Ogletree (who knows), Nate Washington (black), Kevin Walter (black?), Brandon Lafell (black), Emmanuel Sanders (black), T.Y Hilton (orange), and Danario Alexander (black) in DVOA and DYAR. Also, Jackson is less than Andre Roberts (black), Earl Bennet (pink?), and they are both worse than Cecil Shorts (black), not sure that all of those represent significant quarterback upgrades (maybe Bennet, but... as I said, pink?).
As far as raw talent, I don't see anything that distinguishes them in any appreciable way from Jacoby Jones (black).
#4 by RickD // Apr 20, 2013 - 11:40pm
One is allowed to do more than simply look at last year's numbers when formulating judgments.
Do you really think all of the receivers you list are better than DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin? I don't. I would argue that Jackson was on the cusp of blue a couple seasons ago, but that the disaster of the past two years has dropped him to green. Maclin has never been quite as scary as Jackson, but he's also been more consistent. So yeah, I would be content to have both of them rated higher than all of the guys you list. Shorts might establish himself this season as a real deal, but none of those other guys is really scary.
#9 by TacticalSledgehammer // Apr 21, 2013 - 3:22am
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”
#12 by Kaelik (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 6:37am
No, I don't think all the black and orange receivers I listed are BETTER THAN Maclin and Jackson. I think some of them are on pretty much the same level as the two, certainly Maclin in terms of talent.
I do think that all or the vast majority of the greens so far are better than Maclin, and probably Jackson too. Yes, I think Hakeem Nicks, Micheal Crabtree, Marques Colston, ect.
I also think that some of the better blacks and oranges look about as good as Jackson, and better than Maclin.
What that means to me is that Jackson is either the highest black or the lowest green. Or alternatively, that he hasn't proved himself, because there are legitimate doubts if his talent is being used well. I assume Dez Bryant would have been orange this time last year, so Jackson being the same is no serious slight.
Maclin seems just black.
Now, if you have any actual arguments for why they belong where they are (or Andy), that would be great, but if your only argument is a failure to understand that I greens are supposed to be better than blacks, not the other way around, then that isn't a very good argument.
But quite frankly, Maclin is worse than every single green that I actually watch enough to be comfortable talking about. And as for his talent, he hasn't shown me he can do anything that Jacoby Jones can't do just as well. And if it is jsut as well, then he shouldn't be ranked better.
#16 by jonnyblazin // Apr 21, 2013 - 12:03pm
I would take Maclin and Jackson over every one of the WR's listed. Especially Jacoby Jones, who isn't a good route runner and has bad hands.
#19 by RickD // Apr 21, 2013 - 4:51pm
It's not my rating system. But usually when you hear people say
"X is rated higher than Y and that's unfair" they are implying that Y should be rated higher than X. So I was wondering if you thought any of those guys was actually better than Jackson or Maclin.
And, more generally, I don't believe in players ever being "equal". But that's a philosophical point for another day.
Wait, your argument comes down to "I think that some of the better blacks and oranges look about as good as Jackson, and better than Maclin", but that I was somehow "a failure to understand that I greens are supposed to be better than blacks, not the other way around, then that isn't a very good argument."
So, simultaneously, it's my fault for not understanding that you weren't saying that these guys are better than Jackson and Maclin. But really, you are saying that anyway.
Make a decision, and please, don't just get persnickety about boundary definitions. I know what categories are, and equivalence classes, and yada yada yada.
#21 by Kaelik (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 7:29pm
Usually when you see ranking systems, they don't rank 64 people into 6 categories.
In this case, yes, you were saying that I had to believe that blacks are better than Maclin and Jackson to justify them not being Green. That is wrong. If the blacks are just as good, they should be blacks, not green.
And again, no, I am not saying that the blacks and oranges are better than Maclin and Jackson, I am saying they are approximately equal, and that both are much lower than greens.
So yes, if you keep insisting that Maclin/Jackson being equivalent to Torrey Smith/Jacoby Jones means that Maclin and Jackson should be greens while they are blacks, then I'm going to keep pointing out that makes no sense, and it is in fact a problem that Maclin and Jackson are both much worse than other greens.
#11 by Sifter // Apr 21, 2013 - 5:38am
I'm with you. I can buy Jackson as a green. I get the impression he's pretty feared by opposing CBs and coaches, even if his numbers don't bear out a 'good' player. But Maclin has turned into an overhyped possession receiver who can't block too well, and who tends to fall down after a catch rather than trying to run. He's the opposite of DeSean, seemingly productive, but I feel he's been a major disappointment. Mac had a couple of productive games late in the season with Foles at QB though, maybe that will be a catalyst for improvement. However, it's telling to me that Maclin's contract hasn't been extended, and it will be even more telling if the Eagles draft a WR in the first 3 rounds later this week - which they should in my opinion. One that better fits the Kelly scheme.
#17 by cisforcookie (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 12:10pm
I know I'm going to sound silly, but I think maclin is a (lowish)top 15 receiver in the nfl who happens to be trapped on a team that doesn't suit his talents. If he played for the steelers, he'd be an afc pro bowl alternate. instead he's stuck on a franken-team where none of the parts seem to have any coherent symphony. Now that the team has paid desean jackson, I'm hoping they let maclin walk. There are a bunch of teams in the nfl where he could be a centerpiece and a star.
#5 by Nobis60 (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 12:53am
Re: Mathis and his PFF rating - which 'impressionable folks' did you suppose the author meant? FO has decided they aren't in the business of allowing as how other folks might know their business. I've never felt that their level of passive aggression towards PFF was becoming of men who write about a man's sport, but that's just me.
#6 by theslothook // Apr 21, 2013 - 1:07am
I don't truly find PFf and FO to be rivals. While they are both going for online sabermetrics, one has an innovative model for the macro, the other has an innovative style for the micro. I use both because each has value.
#7 by bubqr // Apr 21, 2013 - 2:44am
Ill fire away:
Mathis is green. Im sorry but while he s not a mauler he does not make mistakes,is very good in Pass pro and that by itself makes you good.
Thornton green is a bit of a shock. I like his potential, but he has not proved anything yet
Vinny Curry has bulked up to play DE.
Fletcher didnt play because of his contract status, the youth movement and the emergence of JJenkins. For someone who works off tape this sentence just looks bad
I love Trent Cole to death, but considering his last season and the switch to some OLB in base defense, blue is too much.
You sound pretty confident in your knowledge of Chip's offense in the NFL, and dismissal of Foles chances
#10 by the cat in the… (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 4:13am
I concur on the upvotes for Mathis, he's really good and was the only thing holding that line together at all last year. Time and again I'd see him making a really good block only for the backups around him whiffing horribly.
As for Nick Foles, it's a shame to see FO falling too easily into line with the commonly-believed rumour (ahem) that Kelly needs really fast QBs- if you actually look at the guys who have won games for him at the college level, it's not all running QBs. I'm not saying he wouldn't value mobility but to think 'slow qb=cannot function in Chip Kelly's offense' is just plain wrong.
Oh, and you missed off Chris Polk from the RBs, whilst including FB Stanley Havili, who's gone. Early indications are that they might use a fullback in the traditional sense. That's quite an interesting schematic point I'd have thought, but this review seems to have missed it. Surely it's not that hard to check who's actually on the team?
#13 by PapaMAS (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 7:57am
Also missing from the WRs are Riley Cooper and Damaris Johnson. Cooper has played for the Eagles for 3 years so should have a decent amount of tape to review.
#20 by the cat in the… (not verified) // Apr 21, 2013 - 7:01pm
Oops, might NOT use a fullback.
#23 by jack123443 (not verified) // Apr 22, 2013 - 7:32am
Is this article just old or they don't know what they're talking about. Stan Havili was traded about 2 weeks ago.
#24 by Anonymous422 (not verified) // Apr 22, 2013 - 8:52am
Do you watch the Philadelphia Eagles?
#25 by Borkowskowitz (not verified) // Apr 22, 2013 - 8:59am
Look, I know that you guys do these reports on all teams in the league, and so not all of them are winners, but this was pretty bad. I'm not going to harp on the Evan Mathis thing; that's your observation, and different viewers/sites/systems like different players (PFF loves Mathis, but thinks Kelce is a scrub, you obviously feel the opposite). But this felt like a Bleacher Report piece. When you condescend as you did with the Mathis dig, then you had better have your ducks in a row, and you clearly didn't.
Your analysis on Kelly's system is superficial, you had Havili on the team, and you left 2 receivers off the list who logged a significant amount of plays. Cooper in particular had good chemistry with Foles, and so leaving him off the depth chart was pretty lame.
If I didn't know any better, I might think this was bitterness over your system overrating the Eagles, and you (the royal you) having to explain their DVOA hiccups.
#26 by halfjumpsuit // Apr 22, 2013 - 9:18am
As noted above, Havili is no longer on the team. It's not that big of a deal except you listed the guy he was traded for, Clifton Geathers. Who was jettisoned by the worst defense in the league, a 3-4 defense, but is listed as an adequate player here in a 3-4 defense. That doesn't make sense.
Also as noted above, Vinny Curry is a DE. That too is sloppy work.
Bryce Brown started four games and isn't "jury's still out?" That doesn't make sense.
"It was a little curious for the Eagles to acquire Benn considering they already had a superior possession target in Avant." It's a little curious you would write this. Benn, along with Phillips and Jones was acquired to help shore up the special teams. Benn might take Riley Cooper's spot, who you don't have listed but do have Greg Salas, who is on his third team in 2 years after not cutting it on St. Louis' weak WR core, and he's listed as an adequate player. That too makes no sense.
And I'll pile on that your comment on Mathis is petty.
#27 by Dean // Apr 22, 2013 - 9:42am
The quarterback should be red, for the very reasons described in the article.
#29 by bubqr // Apr 22, 2013 - 10:58am
Guess I'm not the only one pretty critical of some bits there. As it's the team I know best, I'm now doubting the quality of previous ones.
#49 by deezy (not verified) // Apr 24, 2013 - 4:16pm
Exactly the process that I just went through. This article is junk, and it makes me really doubt the ones about teams that I don't know that well.
#30 by diehardphilly33 (not verified) // Apr 22, 2013 - 1:45pm
Stanley Havali was traded to the Colts two weeks ago. Chris Polk is the third RB. I would say that Evan Mathis is more than just adequate, since he was one of the best rated linemen the last two seasons by ProFootballtalk. Also the Jury should still be out on Chung and Fletcher as well.
#32 by Tim Wilson // Apr 22, 2013 - 3:11pm
I think we've covered the Stanley trade adequately above. And I wouldn't put too much weight in Pro Football Talk ratings because, you know, they don't do any. You probably meant PFF, which is also covered thoroughly above.
#46 by Anonymous55 (not verified) // Apr 24, 2013 - 12:42pm
Draft EJ Manuel, then there is some hope of running spread offense effectively. Vick's body can't take the punishment anymore
#47 by Nathan // Apr 24, 2013 - 1:24pm
I'm also thinking Eagles take EJ Manuel if he's available at 35.
#48 by Dean // Apr 24, 2013 - 2:05pm
He might be the best fit for their offense out of this years mediocre crop, but if the Eagles draft E.J. Manuel, they're just prolonging their ride on Quarterback Roulette. The day they benched Donovan against Baltimore, they hopped on the wheel and haven't had sustained high level QB play since (easy to see with hindsight). Manuel isn't going to change that. It just means they'll be looking again in 2015 and it'll be 2017 at the earliest before you can think of them as a contender.
#50 by MannaFromKevin (not verified) // Apr 24, 2013 - 4:21pm
You got tarot cards spread out in front of your keyboard or something?
#51 by Dean // Apr 25, 2013 - 8:38am
Have you seen his release?