May 14, 2014 |
SO YOU WATCH them get through the 3 days of the draft and then you try to figure out how it might make the Eagles look different next fall. It is a bit of an exercise in futility, seeing as how Chip Kelly is officially unpigeonholeable - and, yes, I'm expecting a full credit in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. But we'll give it a try. We'll start with first-and-10. It is the signature down-and-distance for a football team. It is when you identify yourself, for better or worse.
May 2, 2014 |
First of a series of looks at positions the Eagles might target in the May 8-10 NFL draft. Linebacker * What they have: Inside, Mychal Kendricks is a young building block. DeMeco Ryans, leading tackler the two seasons he has been an Eagle, emerged as the defensive leader and played really well against the run in 2013, but wasn't great against the pass. Ryans, who turns 30 in July, won't man the middle forever. Outside, Connor Barwin is a solid, smart player who still should have plenty of mileage left at 27. The other spot is a question.
March 11, 2014 |
Even though they ranked second to last in the NFL in sacks per pass play last season, the Eagles aren't likely to hit the panic button and overspend for an edge rusher in free agency. Do they need to upgrade at outside linebacker or at the least bolster a unit that accounted for only 16 of 37 sacks last season? Certainly. But there is more to a successful pass rush than sacks. The Eagles actually had an above-average defense in that regard, according to Football Outsiders' rankings.
March 9, 2014 |
From the time Howie Roseman was awarded a desk in the Eagles office through his ascension in the football operations staff, and even in his first three years as general manager, the pass rushers Roseman sought all would play in a similar defensive scheme. Not until Roseman helped court Chip Kelly in January 2013 did his scouting require him to pinpoint edge rushers whose positions are listed as "OLB" and not "DE. " The NFL's vernacular is changing when it comes to pass rushers, because one size does not fit all. Fifteen NFL teams run a 3-4 base defense and 17 teams run a 4-3. The Eagles moved from the 4-3 to the 3-4 last season.
February 22, 2014 |
INDIANAPOLIS - Before free agency, before the draft, the Eagles need to make decisions on players who make up approximately one-third of their current roster. It is likely that coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman have decided which players will go, which ones will stay, which ones they'll approach about restructuring their salaries, and which ones they'll dangle in a possible trade. But with the start of free agency more than two weeks away and the market still far from being set, the impetus to, say, negotiate contract extensions for free-agent wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, won't come until the March 11 deadline nears.
December 25, 2013 |
The home-team locker room at Lincoln Financial Field was all but empty early Monday morning when Trent Cole appraised an Eagles season unlike any he had experienced before. Cole has started for the Eagles defense since 2005. Selected in that year's draft, he and guard Todd Herremans are the longest-tenured Eagles on the 2013 roster. They arrived at an interesting moment in the team's history. Under Andy Reid, with Donovan McNabb at quarterback, the Eagles had reached four consecutive NFC championship games and lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
December 24, 2013 |
IF YOU WENT back and looked at the league's scouting evaluations of Trent Cole before the 2005 draft, you likely would see the same two words on almost every one of those reports: high motor. He wasn't the fastest linebacker/defensive end in that draft, and at 6-2 and just 236 pounds at the time, he certainly wasn't the biggest. But he was an effort player who knew only one speed. That was true then. It still is true nine NFL seasons later. That jet-engine motor of his helped him go from a fifth-round nobody to an NFL starter.
December 21, 2013 |
Raise your hand if you were certain before or even during this season that Trent Cole wouldn't be back with the Eagles in 2014. Count Cole among the many. In fact, the defensive-end-turned-outside linebacker wasn't sure he would make it to 2013 after the Eagles hired Chip Kelly and he was told the defense was moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4. "There's a lot of things you think about when a new coaching staff comes in," Cole said Thursday. "They'll bring their own players in, and they do their own thing.
December 10, 2013 |
RESILIENCE somehow defeated hypothermia and malaise and, ultimately, resulted in a happy delirium. Brent Celek slid in the snow 10 yards shy of a sure touchdown then giddily ran back to the huddle, the game in the bag. Lane Johnson flopped on his back, looking like a snow angel in the end zone. Over 3 1/2 hours of whiteout insanity, the Eagles turned a nightmare before Christmas into their own wintry fairy land. "Most fun game I've ever been involved with," Jason Kelce said.
December 5, 2013 |
THE BIGGEST difference between the Eagles' 2012 defense and this one, the group that hasn't allowed more than 21 points in any of its last eight games, just might be Connor Barwin. It's a little hard to isolate a single factor, when a team changes schemes, coordinators, cornerbacks, and other stuff, but, hey, the Eagles host the Lions on Sunday. Barwin is from the Detroit area, he has an outline of the Motor City skyline tattooed on the inside of his right biceps. Plus, defensive coordinator Bill Davis set the table for us nicely yesterday.