What they're saying about the Eagles

Danny Watkins and the Eagles' rookie class got a "C" from ESPN's Mel Kiper for their performances in 2011. (File photo)

Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Eagles a C+ right after last year's draft. After seeing the rookies play in 2011, he downgraded that to a C:

The Eagles targeted needs, but I didn't think the value was great. Danny Watkins looks like a solid guard after really struggling early in the season, but again, this is a guy you drafted to play guard at No. 22 overall -- there's an expectation that he can be successful early. Jaiquawn Jarrett saw action in 12 games, but I thought he might be the clear starter by this point. Casey Matthews was a reach and saw some time, but he has a ways to go and probably isn't a starting linebacker for a competitive team... Not a terrible draft, as some of these guys got experience, but a little light on impact right now.

SI.com's Peter King has the Eagles 12th in his power rankings:

Andy Reid's job one: whether to replace defensive coordinator Juan Castillo with Steve Spagnuolo. Important decision, obviously, and one that will be a tough call for Reid because of his affection for Castillo.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Eagles taking Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly in the first round:

Juan Castillo was a convenient scapegoat for the fact that the Eagles didn't have a middle linebacker play with any kind of consistency in 2011. Philadelphia may be perfectly positioned to nab the most productive linebacker in recent college football history. More decorated than a wedding cake, Kuechly is the reigning Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott Impact Trophy Award winner and has more career tackles (532) than any other linebacker in the country. That's saying something considering he's leaving after his junior season.

A report from Jason La Canfora of NFL Network about Steve Spagnuolo created a stir. Here's what La Canfora wrote:

Spagnuolo, let go by the St. Louis Rams last week, is expected to be back in Philadelphia by the end of the week. The Eagles released a secondary coach over the weekend, so they have flexibility to move around the staff and bring Spagnuolo back as an assistant head coach, if not defensive coordinator. If Andy Reid wants to retain embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in some other capacity, that's a possibility as well, according to league sources. Spagnuolo is a disciple of former Eagles defensive guru Jim Johnson, and was much-liked during his eight-year stint on Andy Reid's staff. Spagnuolo wanted to take time off last week, according to a league source, but expect his phone to start ringing quickly.

La Canfora is simply saying Spagnuolo is expected to return from vacation by the end of the week, not that he is expected to join the Eagles' coaching staff by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, he's not on the Eagles anymore, but could Kevin Kolb be one and done in Arizona? According to CBS' Charlie Casserly, the Cardinals could have interest in Peyton Manning.

And according to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Browns could have interest in Kolb:

Kolb is owed a $7 million roster bonus from the Cards in March. There is some debate in Phoenix about if it would be wiser for the Cards to cut their losses, release Kolb and suffer the cap hit rather than invest further in him. If that happened, Kolb would rise to the top of the list of quarterback options for the Browns. Why?

Kolb was a much better quarterback in the West Coast offense in which he was schooled in Philadelphia. Arizona doesn't run it. Also, Kolb was drafted by Philadelphia partly based on evaluations made by Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur -- the Browns' top two football men. Heckert was the Eagles' general manager, though he didn't have final football authority, and Shurmur was the team's quarterbacks coach.

ESPN's Rick Reilly writes about David Akers and where his mind was at this time last year:

The crying-in-the-shower part was exactly a year ago last week -- wild-card weekend -- when his Philadelphia Eagles were about to host the Green Bay Packers. The day before the game, doctors found a tumor on the ovary of Akers' 6-year-old daughter, Halley.

They were still trying to figure out what to do with it Sunday morning when a distraught Akers had to drive to the game to kick inflated pigskins through bars of steel.

This is not specifically about the Eagles, but check out Mike Tanier's piece on NBCSports.com that rejects some common football arguments you might hear from friends, analysts, etc. He discusses going for it on fourth down, playing rookie quarterbacks and the idea of momentum in the divisional round.

And finally, philly.com colleague Jerry Gaul did a good job of rounding up results from our Stay or Go survey. A few notes: Voters want Asante Samuel and Howie Roseman gone. Michael Vick's approval rating is about the same as it was at this time last year. And fans want DeSean Jackson to return. I highly recommend checking out the complete post.

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