Sunday, August 2, 2015

What they're saying about the Eagles

I did the first roundup Sunday before the power went out, but didn't get to all the links.

What they're saying about the Eagles

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Are there 10 receivers in the league better than DeSean Jackson? (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Are there 10 receivers in the league better than DeSean Jackson? (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

I did the first roundup Sunday before the power went out, but didn't get to all the links.

Here's the rest of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com isn't buying the Eagles' hype just yet:

I don't see a Dream Team. I see four high-profile acquisitions on defense -- Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins -- who haven't spent much time together in the trenches. These guys playing in the City of Brotherly Love aren't brothers yet. I also see a very average linebacking corps, if not worse. And I see two guys, Babin and Jenkins, who had their most productive seasons ever last year (see table), got paid and could be due for a letdown.

Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc. graded out the top 200 players in the NFL. Which Eagles made the list? Nnamdi Asomugha came in at No. 16; Trent Cole at No. 26; Jason Peters at No. 55; DeSean Jackson at No. 74; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at No. 83; Michael Vick at No. 90; LeSean McCoy at No. 103; Asante Samuel at No. 121; and Jason Babin at No. 176.

What stands out? The Eagles have five defensive players on the list. And three of the five weren't with the team in 2010.

Offensively, Williamson has Jackson as the 11th-ranked receiver and Jeremy Maclin 30th. Here's his writeup on Jackson:

Jackson is best in space, where he can catch the ball and get upfield. He has the speed and quickness to stretch deep zones and eat up a defender's cushion on deep routes. He has good hands and was much better with his focus in regards to making the routine catch in 2010.

Jackson has improved his overall route running and understanding of coverages to progress as an elite perimeter target for the Eagles. His lack of size is a liability as a blocker, but his playmaking ability overshadows any deficiencies he might have.

SI.com's Peter King caught up with Kevin Kolb recently:

Last Friday morning, after the Cards' short practice in Tempe, Kolb was dressing at his locker when he looked up at a TV and saw a replay of the Browns-Eagles game from the previous night on NFL Network. And just then, playing exactly when Kolb would have been playing had the trade from Philadelphia to Arizona never have gone down, Vince Young scrambled with the ball out of bounds.

"Weird. Just weird,'' said Kolb, shaking his head.

The next night, Kolb threw an 80-yard touchdown bomb to Fitzgerald in an uneven performance, and the local populace, enticed but never convinced that Max Hall or Derek Anderson were anything but poor bridges from Kurt Warner to the next real quarterback, started to think of Kolb as the guy who could lead them back to the playoffs.

"I'm very impressed how easily he's come in and blended right in on this team,'' said GM Rod Graves.

"It's like he's been here for a while,'' said Fitzgerald.

King also mentions in his Monday Morning Quarterback column that he is skeptical Asomugha was offered more money from other teams when he chose the Eagles:

I think the thing I learned this week that surprised me the most is that Dallas never offered Nnamdi Asomugha as much as Philadelphia did ($12 million a year). I don't know Dallas' exact offer, but I'm told categorically that it didn't average $12 million a year. So that means the Jets (three years, $30 million offer) and Dallas, the teams thought to be the Eagles' biggest competition, weren't in Philly's financial ballpark.

And I'm told Houston never made a solid offer; Asomugha's agent, Ben Dogra, knew the Texans' parameters, but as far as getting something down on paper, a Texans source told me it didn't happen. So there might be a mystery team out there that offered more money than the Eagles, but that Asomugha never seriously considered.

Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com argues that NFL teams too often try to change running quarterbacks, rather than use their speed:

Some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history ran, and ran a lot. And never paid the ultimate price. Roger Staubach. Fran Tarkenton. Steve Young. Steve McNair. Michael Vick. Those guys could throw the ball, yes, but they could run and their teams maximized those unique gifts.

The Titans weren't smart enough to maximize Vince Young's incredible size, speed and power. Imagine an offense with two great running backs -- Vince Young and Chris Johnson -- and a quarterback who doesn't throw the ball like Marino, no, but is good enough to find openings against a spread-out, freaked-out defense worried to distraction by the ground game. What would such an offense look like? That's not my problem. That was the Titans' problem, their duty, after they drafted Vince Young and invested all that money and draft equity into him.

Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders explains the Ninja Theory and the Inverse Ninja Theory as they relate to the Eagles:

I would be worried more about the "failure to mesh" if the Eagles brought in a new quarterback or a whole new receiving corps, or if more of the new acquisitions were expected to jump into starting roles. Asomugha does not have to really mesh with anyone, and an all-new defensive line can succeed despite less-than-perfect timing in a way that an offensive line cannot. Some of the biggest names the Eagles acquired on offense, like Ronnie Brown, Steve Smith, and Young, are expected to play minor roles anyway, at least early in the year. I’m not one to worry much about team chemistry. I’m also not one to overreact to one preseason game. Yet here I am, under my bed, watching yet another NFL Network replay of the Steelers game. Please make it stop!


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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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