Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Draft position, Steve Smith and the LBs

If you missed it from Monday, here's Man Up on the defense. I'll publish the player-by-player review of the offense later Tuesday afternoon.

Draft position, Steve Smith and the LBs

Casey Matthews played more than any other Eagles linebacker on Sunday. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Casey Matthews played more than any other Eagles linebacker on Sunday. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

If you missed it from Monday, here's Man Up on the defense. I'll publish the player-by-player review of the offense later Tuesday afternoon.

In the meantime, here are some notes.


At 5-8, the Eagles would pick 10th overall in the first round if the season ended today. They would also have the 44th pick (their own second rounder) and the 47th pick (the second rounder from the Kevin Kolb deal).

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As things currently stand, nine teams have a worse record than the Eagles. Two other teams - the Chiefs and the Bills - are 5-8, but the Birds would pick before them on account of strength of schedule.

Six teams - the Bucs, Panthers, Redskins, Jaguars, Browns and Dolphins - are all at 4-9. In other words, a lot can change in terms of draft positioning between now and the end of the season.

And if you're still wondering about what needs to happen for them to win the NFC East, click here.


The Eagles caught everyone off-guard back on August 10 when they signed free-agent wide receiver Steve Smith. At the time, Jeremy Maclin's status was uknown, but then again, so was Smith's.

The Giants clearly did not feel that Smith would be ready to play and contribute to start the season, but the Eagles felt otherwise. Yesterday, the team placed him on injured reserve.

Before last week, Smith had been active for every game. Here's a look at his snap count numbers, courtesy of Pro Football Focus:

Week Snap Counts
1 5
2 19
3 14
4 10
5 4
6 8
8 0
9 0
10 60
11 7
12 8
13 0

Initially, it seemed logical to assume Smith would start off slow, but would progress as the season went on and he recovered from microfracture surgery. But that wasn't the case. He played 19 and 14 snaps, respectively, in Weeks 2 and 3. Smith played more than 10 snaps just once after Week 4, and that was because DeSean Jackson was benched against the Cardinals in Week 10.

Overall, he was targeted 20 times and had 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Smith was paid a reported $2M in guaranteed money, more than three times what Jackson made this season.

Many have fairly second-guessed whether the Eagles could have better used that money on a problem area on defense, like safety or linebacker.

Rumors have already swirled that Smith could be headed back to the Giants in 2012. That is, assuming he's healthy.


The Eagles continued their linebacker shuffle Sunday. Here's a look at snap counts from the win over the Dolphins:

Player Snap Counts
Casey Matthews 46
Brian Rolle 36
Keenan Clayton 28
Jamar Chaney 20
Akeem Jordan 20

What stands out? Matthews went from a short-yardage role to being on the field more than any other linebacker, as the Eagles played mostly nickel in the second half.

Rolle, who had been demoted in the nickel package, was back in there rotating snaps with Clayton.

And Chaney, who has played more snaps than any other Eagles defender besides Asante Samuel this season, was on the field for only 20 plays.

The Eagles need to figure out what they have with this group, and they clearly need to upgrade the talent in the offseason. Of course, that's been true in previous years as well.


The Eagles were underdogs last week in Miami and came away with a 26-10 win.

But they'll enter Sunday's game against the 8-5 Jets as the favorites. The Birds are currently 3-point favorites, according to BoDog.com and other sites.

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About this blog
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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